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Jul 01

July 1, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #76

Posted on July 1, 2020 at 2:35 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


Yesterday, we surveyed whether mayors believe that Fourth of July celebrations in excess of 100 people should be allowed.  How did the survey go? 


The results showed that some mayors appear to be much more cautious right now. Asked whether they would allow private outdoor gatherings in excess of 100 people, 68 percent (76) of the 112 responding mayors said no. (The League has 1,160 member cities)


When we compiled a previous survey’s results back in May, 95 mayors, from cities with a population ranging from 192-118,000, responded. Seventy-seven percent voted in favor of allowing Fourth of July celebrations, with appropriate virus-prevention protocols. Of course, conditions in some areas of the state are now much different. 


In response to the surge in cases, the governor, in Executive Order GA-28 and his Open Texas guidance, prohibits outdoor gatherings in excess of 100 people. However, a mayor can approve a larger gathering in a city’s limits, and such approval can be made subject to certain conditions or restrictions. (The conditions can include a face mask requirement, but as of now the governor’s position is that no penalty can be imposed on an individual for not wearing one.) 


This time around, respondent city populations ranged from to 482-2.3 million. The following questions were asked:


-Will you be approving PRIVATE outdoor gatherings in excess of 100 people (with or without conditions)?  Out of 112 responding mayors, 76 said no and 36 said yes. Of the 36 responding yes, 21 reported that they will impose conditions or restrictions on the gathering.


-Will your city be conducting a CITY (e.g., city-sponsored, city-funded, on city property, etc.) Fourth of July celebration (including a parade and/or fireworks)? Out of 111 responding mayors, 84 said no and 27 said yes. Of the 27 responding yes, 19 reported that they will impose conditions or restrictions on the gathering.


Further Updates


What did the governor say yesterday about the virus?


According to News4SanAntonio, with regard to local face mask mandates:


Gov. Greg Abbott said in an interview with us Monday evening he would not be giving local authorities more control, because of what happened in Dallas.


Abbott said the incident in Dallas, which led to a salon owner's arrest when she did not follow local orders, is what's keeping him from giving back power.


“Let’s say we give them the power." Gov. Abbott said. "How are they going to enforce it? A person was not following the citation, she got arrested. My point is, it almost inevitably leads to arrests.”


And according to a press release from the governor’s office:


“The Office of the Governor and Major League Baseball Hall-Of-Famer Iván ‘Pudge’ Rodríguez today issued a new public service announcement (PSA) on the importance of wearing a mask to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In the PSA, Rodríguez urges Texans to wear a mask in public to protect themselves and others from the virus.”


What are the results of TML’s mid-year Fiscal Conditions Survey?


Each year, TML conducts a fiscal conditions survey of its member cities. With an unexpected public health crisis and an economic recession, most cities will have to make difficult decisions over the next coming months. This is why TML created a special-edition, mid-year fiscal conditions survey to help cities navigate the upcoming budget planning process. With 552 cities responding, the survey demonstrates that the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted cities significantly.


The full results are on the TML website at:


What information did the comptroller release regarding sales tax collections?


Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar today (July 1) said state sales tax revenue totaled $2.67 billion in June, 6.5 percent less than in June 2019. According to his press release:


“The majority of June sales tax revenue is based on sales made in May and remitted to the agency in June. Widespread social distancing requirements were relaxed across much of the state in May.


‘The decline in state sales tax collections was driven principally by steep drops in remittances from oil- and gas-related sectors,’ Hegar said. ‘Collections from the construction and amusement service sectors were also sharply down.’


While collections from restaurants also were depressed, the extent of the decline was checked by increased takeout and delivery sales. Retail trade receipts rose significantly, buoyed by increased online shopping and building material purchases, as business premises were modified for COVID-19 precautions.


‘Retail sales likely also were boosted by increased alcoholic beverage sales at package, grocery, and convenience stores. That’s because this category of spending shifted from restaurant and bar on-premise consumption, subject to mixed beverage taxes, to purchases for at-home consumption subject to sales tax. Increased spending by businesses to facilitate teleworking resulted in higher tax collections from vendors of computer hardware and software products.’


Total sales tax revenue for the three months ending in June 2020 was down 9.7 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Sales tax is the largest source of state funding for the state budget, accounting for 57 percent of all tax collections, but the effects of the economic slowdown and low oil prices also were evident in other sources of revenue in June 2020.


Texas collected the following revenue from other major taxes:


-motor vehicle sales and rental taxes — $394 million, down 7.6 percent from June 2019, a substantial improvement from results in April and May;

-motor fuel taxes — $250 million, down 24 percent from June 2019;

-natural gas production tax — $20 million, down 84 percent from June 2019;

-oil production tax — $83 million, down 77 percent from June 2019;

-hotel occupancy tax — $23 million, down 61 percent from June 2019, an improvement from the record decline in May; and

-alcoholic beverage taxes — $65 million, down 47 percent from June 2019, significantly better than May’s results.


For details on all monthly collections, visit the Comptroller's Monthly State Revenue Watch. For an extensive history of tax policy developments and fees since 1972, visit our updated Sources of Revenue publication.” 


June sales tax numbers for cities should be released in about ten days.


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.