The funds, which now total more than $6 million, can be used only for the promotion of tourism within a city, according to state law.
Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox said she received a note from the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce suggesting the city could use the funds to possibly create a campaign to promote a "staycation" to help local hoteliers.
Cox first brought up the topic during a special called meeting May 4. She said she had been engaging in discussions with the Texas Lodging Society and Gov. Greg Abbott’s office with regard to using hotel occupancy tax money to aid recovery efforts from the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Although the governor’s office has not made any decisions publicly at this point, it is something they may make a ruling on in the coming months,” Cox said May 4, adding hotel lobbying entities are encouraging state lawmakers to nix any policy changes to Texas’ existing hotel tax law, which states the funds can be used only in the promotion of tourism. “The real pot of money we have to help our small businesses at this time is this pot of money, so how could you utilize it?”
Due to the fact there were no new developments or updates from state officials beyond the suggestion from the chamber, no new ideas were put forth, and it is not clear whether the discussion will continue in upcoming meetings.