FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 27, 2007
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez , Press Secretary
Phone: (512) 463-0385
BILL TO EXEMPT TRAVEL TRAILERS FROM AD VALOREM TAXATION CLOSER TO SENATE APPROVAL
AUSTIN, TX -- Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., author of the Senate legislation that would exempt certain recreational vehicles from ad valorem taxation, announced the bill has gained full approval from the House and will soon be considered by the entire Senate. Rep. Kino Flores authored the companion bill to Sen. Lucio's in the House.
The bill specifies that because recreational vehicles (RVs) are not real property and are not substantially affixed to real estate or permanent fixtures, owners of these RVs must pay sales taxes on their units and maintain current auto vehicle registrations. Therefore, this property tax has created a hardship for many of these occupants, especially since their average age is 69. Eighty percent of Winter Texans live in mobile RVs.
"This unfair tax impacts so many of our Winter Texans because they are generally the people who own the kind of recreational vehicle that is currently assessed this tax," said Sen. Lucio. "My bill primarily ends the practice of subjecting to ad valorem taxation those travel trailer owners who are not local residents and are not offered the right to participate in local government, like real property owners."
The Rio Grande Valley benefits from the $450 million in revenues these visitors inject into the economy. However, the usual 150,000 Winter Texans who visit every year is down 20 percent from 2002, when the tax became effective. A constitutional amendment in 2001 inadvertently allowed counties to impose a tax on RVs.
"The increased sales tax revenue and tourism dollars generated by the influx of visitors as a result of lifting this tax will far outweigh any property tax revenue loss in those counties, and as a result there will be no quantifiable harm to school funding," added Sen. Lucio. "Since only a few counties in Texas, including Cameron and Hidalgo, tax these trailers as real property, there should be no significant loss to general revenue."
This bill also provides a narrow definition of park model travel trailers for taxation purposes that conforms to the existing definition already in state statute, and is also the nationally recognized standard. This bill clarifies that structures that are primarily used for temporary living arrangements, built on a single chassis, and less than 400 square feet are exempt from ad valorem taxation.
The Senator added, "We are looking to protect park model travel trailer purchasers from unjust double taxation. Passage of this bill will encourage tourism and economic activity in the state of Texas and help local businesses by encouraging more people to stay in Texas for an extended period of time."
Note: Carlos Galvan, legislative aide, handles this legislation for Sen. Lucio, 512-463-0127.