TACO Eyes Tough Texas Legislative Agenda
The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) has developed a packed legislative affairs agenda for 2011 and is planning initiatives to protect private park owners from everything from higher taxes to cutbacks in tourism funding and efforts to extend the school year, according to a news release.
TACO attorney Casey Erick briefed association members on details of several laws previously put on the books that are RV park-specific, including theft of service and trespass codes. TACO legislative consultant Ron Hinkle reviewed the 2011 legislative affairs agenda during the “Texas Parks on Tour” meeting at La Hacienda RV Resort in Austin.
Brian Schaeffer, TACO’s executive director and CEO, said the state of Texas is facing close to a $25 billion deficit and is going to be looking for ways to raise taxes and cut programs. “We don’t want them coming to us for fees such as occupancy taxes,” Schaeffer said, although the association may support minor broad-based tax increases that are applied to everyone and every industry, such as minor increases in gasoline or sales taxes.
But TACO does not want to see any cutbacks in state funding to promote Texas tourism to out-of-state residents. TACO is also gearing up for a fight to prevent school districts from extending the length of the school year.
“We obtained legislation a couple of years ago that prevents school districts in Texas from starting the school year before the last Monday of August. But now we’re seeing some creep on school ending dates,” Schaeffer said, adding that TACO would support legislation to govern school ending dates as well.
TACO is also working with the Texas Rural Water Districts Association and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to develop standard billing rates for rural water districts, which have increasingly tried to charge Texas parks residential billing rates.
In other business, TACO members elected several board members for its 2011 term, including Robert Crockett of Spring Branch RV Resort in Spring Branch; Allan Hughes of Traders Village in Grand Prairie; Joe Moore of The Vineyards Campground in Grapevine; Don Temple of Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville; Doug Shearer of Parkview Riverside RV Park in Rio Frio; and Ed Welliver of Oleander Acres RV Resort in Mission. Officers for 2011 will be selected in January.
The meeting also included a tour of La Hacienda RV Resort by park owners Ken and Lydia Butschek. This resort recently expanded from 60 RV sites and a handful of cabins on five acres to 240 sites with 15 cabins on 35 acres with majestic amenities and meeting facilities. Fall tour sponsors included Wilcor International, Parkview Riverside RV Park, TengoInternet and Texas Advertising.