AUSTIN, TX — Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly congratulates the City of Corpus Christi on the passage of HB 5012, the law that allows the creation of a Project Finance Zone (PFZ) around the American Bank Center. Today, Governor Greg Abbott allowed HB 5012 to take effect on September 1, 2023, by filing it without his signature.
This finance tool, set up by the state, establishes a PFZ that allows communities to keep the Hotel Occupancy Taxes (HOT) that are collected by hotels and which normally go to the state to fund tourism projects statewide. This PFZ will allow the City of Corpus Christi to keep 4% of the HOT from hotels located within a 3 mile radius of the American Bank Center to fund improvements and expansion of the convention center. The PFZ is expected to generate about $5 million in the next two years and about $192 million over 30 years.
Originally, it was a stand-alone bill, HB 4266, offered by Chairman Abel Herrero in the House and a companion bill, SB 1881, was offered by Senator Hinojosa in the Senate. The language of these bills was then added to HB 5012, an omnibus bill for cities seeking funding for different hotel and convention projects by Representative Travis Clardy. Chairman Todd Hunter helped to get HB 5012 out of the House and over to the senate. Senator Hinojosa was instrumental in demonstrating to Chairman Brian Birdwell, sponsor of HB 5012 in the Senate, why the City of Corpus Christi should be allowed to be a part of the legislation authorizing PFZs due to it being a destination attraction for conventions and tourism that should not be excluded because of its population size.
“This is a significant victory for the City of Corpus Christi,” said Senator Hinojosa. “Due to the size of our current convention center, we are already in competition with larger markets. This tool will allow us to make much needed repairs and upgrades to our current convention areas, and fund expansion projects that will continue to bring conventions and tourists into our area.”
Senator Hinojosa would like to congratulate the City of Corpus Christi, especially Mayor Paulette Guajardo for her leadership, determination, and tireless work on this issue. Mayor Guajardo’s efforts played a key role in getting this legislation passed. He also appreciates the hard work, dedication, and responsiveness of the City staff during the session to make this project a reality. Senator Hinojosa also thanks Chairman Clardy, Chairman Herrero, Chairman Hunter, Chairman Birdwell, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Governor Abbott for their support of this important legislation.
“This is a great example of what can be accomplished when we work together,” said Senator Hinojosa. “I am proud to have been a part of this effort and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on our community.”