City, county propose venue tax

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 24 for both the General Election, as well as local elections, but this time voters on South Padre Island have a new twist to contend with at the polls.

Both the City of South Padre Island and Cameron County have propositions on the ballots to increase venue taxes, part of the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT tax) by 2 percent. However, the City’s proposition would only affect venue taxes on the Island, while the County’s two individual propositions would affect venue taxes county-wide. Both sets of propositions would benefit proposed tourism developments on the Island, including an ecotourism center and other projects.

At issue, however, is a state-mandated cap on the HOT tax of 17 percent. Currently, visitors to South Padre Island pay a 14.5 percent HOT tax when staying on Island hotels and short term rentals, such as condos. The City’s plan to increase the venue tax by an additional 2 percent would raise the overall HOT tax paid by tourists to 16.5 percent. If the County’s two resolutions pass, as well, the amount would be well over the 17 percent maximum.

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