PRESS RELEASE
from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
May 1, 2007
Contact: Jody Withers
(512) 463-0130

Senate passes Estes bill promoting rural economic development

AUSTIN -- The Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 1336 by State Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) to authorize property tax benefits that promote tourism and economic development.

"Many of our rural communities rely on the economic benefits of tourism where visitors come to experience the charm and character of small towns and historic main streets," said Estes.

These small town main streets are revitalized through either the Main Street Improvement Program or the Downtown Revitalizing Program administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture. In many instances though, the historic buildings are not revitalized because the owners cannot afford the higher property taxes that come with the increased property value associated with the improvements.

Senate Bill 1336 authorizes local municipalities to freeze increases in property taxes for improved buildings associated with either the Main Street Improvement Program or the Downtown Revitalization Program for a period of up to five years.

"Our small towns need the flexibility to provide economic incentives to improve downtown buildings to enhance local main street projects and attract more tourism and economic development," said Estes.

The Senate also passed Senate Joint Resolution 44 which is a constitutional amendment seeking voter approval for these tax benefits.

Senate Bill 1336 and Senate Joint Resolution 44 now go to the Texas House for consideration.

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