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South Texas International Film Festival

Featured, front row, from left: Francis Whitworth, Edinburg Arts Foundation Board; Tony Casas, Cultural Activities Board; Edna Peña, Edinburg Arts Foundation Board, Cultural Activities Board; Letty Reyes, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, Edinburg Arts Foundation Board, South Texas International Film Festival Board; Letty Leija, Director of Library & Cultural Arts, South Texas International Film Festival Board; Cynthia Sarmiento, CineSol Film Festival; Kim LeBlanc, Production Consultant, Texas Film Commission, Office of the Governor; and Magdiel Alfonso, Edinburg Arts Foundation Event Coordinator, South Texas International Film Festival Board. Back row, from left: Henry Serrato, CineSol Film Festival; Jonathan Torres, Edinburg Arts Foundation Board, South Texas International Film Festival Board; and Luis Enrique Suñer, El Mañana, South Texas International Film Festival Board. This image was taken on Saturday, August 22, at the awards ceremony, held at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, for the South Texas International Film Festival.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Edinburg’s retail economy from January through July 2015 is almost six percent ahead of the same period last year, a figure that is better than the statewide average of all Texas cities, which came in with a 4.8 percent improvement year-to-date, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members. For the month of July 2015, the city’s retail economy registered a four percent rate of improvement over the same month last year, the EEDC added, according to data released on Thursday, September 10, by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. For the first seven months of 2015, Edinburg’s retail economy has produced $15,140,562.15 in local sales taxes, compared with $14,285,511.68 for January through July 2014, representing an improvement of 5.98 percent. During July 2015, the city’s retail economy generated $1,549,113.91 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,489,519.36 for July 2014, also according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the EEDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city, said Agustin García, Jr., Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The amount of local sales taxes collected also helps reflect the strength of an economy, along with construction activities, per capita income, education, historical performances, and related trends, García explained. “Any retail economy is measured by consumer spending patterns for goods and services, such as for consumer durables, which are goods that usually last more than three years, and consumer nondurables, which usually last less than three years,” the EEDC Executive Director noted. “But there are other key factors, such as entertainment venues, which also bring in money into our community, and Edinburg is also leader in those events.” On Friday, August 21, and Saturday, August 22, the inaugural South Texas International Film Festival, which included EEDC as one of the sponsors and organizers, was showcased as an example of high-quality and cutting-edge industries being positioned to help the local economy, said Mayor Richard García, who serves on the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. Mayor García and EEDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr. are not related. “In hosting the South Texas International Film Festival, we are creating a home to the film arts in our region, and in doing so, proudly displayed the tremendous homegrown talent we have in our region,” noted the mayor. “During this tremendous gathering, we provided the educational courses, know-how, and generated the business connections to foster creativity in our local film industry, which can help our economy continue to flourish and diversify.” Mayor García and Board President Iglesias praised the work of Edinburg area residents who worked diligently to pull of a very successful film festival, notably the EEDC, the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, the City of Edinburg, Edinburg Arts, and the Consulado de México en McAllen (Mexican Consulate in McAllen). Iglesias noted how the City of Austin has helped its economy prosper through entertainment venues, specifically its now famous South by Southwest Music Festival, which has become the largest music festival of its kind in the world. “According to a 2014 economic impact study by Greyhill Advisors, the economic impact of the South by Southwest Music Festival, which also includes film components, totaled $315.3 million in 2014,” said Iglesias. “First organized in 1987, the South by Southwest Music Festival has had an economic impact on it’s hometown over the past five years of more than $1 billion. These are the high standards by which we in Edinburg set our goals.” The mayor agreed. “For several generations, we in South Texas have worked for a medical school, and by the Fall of 2016, we will be finally opening the doors to a UT School of Medicine, including a major presence here in Edinburg,” said Mayor García. “What that shows everyone is all good things are possible for our region. All it takes is determination and hard work, and the South Texas International Film Festival is the latest example of the vision of our people.” The mayor, along with the Edinburg City Council and EEDC Board of Directors, were influential in the passage of state legislation in 2013 that resulted in the creation of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, which includes a $54 million Medical Academic Building now under construction in Edinburg. Occupying more than 88,000 square feet, the new Medical Academic Building will be a teaching facility that promotes faculty and student interaction at the beginning stages of medical school, according to the UT System. The building will include an auditorium, digital library, clinical skills center, pre-clinical laboratories and an anatomy teaching facility. Multiple small classrooms, seminar rooms and other features will offer opportunities for small group problem solving and inter-professional educational experiences.

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Edinburg retail economy shows almost 6 percent increase from January through July compared with same period in 2014; local improvement rate ahead of statewide 4.8 percent average of all cities

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Edinburg’s retail economy from January through July 2015 is almost six percent ahead of the same period last year, a figure that is better than the statewide average of all Texas cities, which came in with a 4.8 percent improvement year-to-date, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members.

For the month of July 2015, the city’s retail economy registered a four percent rate of improvement over the same month last year, the EEDC added, according to data released on Thursday, September 10, by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Among its many duties, the Texas Comptroller’s office is the state’s chief tax collector, accountant, revenue estimator and treasurer.

For the first seven months of 2015, Edinburg’s retail economy has produced $15,140,562.15 in local sales taxes, compared with $14,285,511.68 for January through July 2014, representing an improvement of 5.98 percent.

During July 2015, the city’s retail economy generated $1,549,113.91 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,489,519.36 for July 2014, also according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

ENTERTAINMENT VENUES HELP GENERATE PROSPERITY FOR LOCAL ECONOMY

The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the EEDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city, said Agustin García, Jr., Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

The amount of local sales taxes collected also helps reflect the strength of an economy, along with construction activities, per capita income, education, historical performances, and related trends, García explained.

“Any retail economy is measured by consumer spending patterns for goods and services, such as for consumer durables, which are goods that usually last more than three years, and consumer nondurables, which usually last less than three years,” the EEDC Executive Director noted. “But there are other key factors, such as entertainment venues, which also bring in money into our community, and Edinburg is also leader in those events.”

On Friday, August 21, and Saturday, August 22, the inaugural South Texas International Film Festival, which included EEDC as one of the sponsors and organizers, was showcased as an example of high-quality and cutting-edge industries being positioned to help the local economy, said Mayor Richard García, who serves on the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

Mayor García and EEDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr. are not related.

“In hosting the South Texas International Film Festival, we are creating a home to the film arts in our region, and in doing so, proudly displayed the tremendous homegrown talent we have in our region,” noted the mayor. “During this tremendous gathering, we provided the educational courses, know-how, and generated the business connections to foster creativity in our local film industry, which can help our economy continue to flourish and diversify.”

The potential for economic benefits in Texas is documented by the Texas Film Commission, which is an arm of the Office of the Governor.

The Texas Film Commission – which had a representative, Kim LeBlanc, Production Consultant for the state entity, at the two-day event – reports that from 2008 to 2012, there was $147 million spent in Texas by the movie industry, and that financial impact is expected to continue growing significantly.

Mayor García and Board President Iglesias praised the work of Edinburg area residents who worked diligently to pull of a very successful film festival, notably the EEDC, the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, the City of Edinburg, Edinburg Arts, and the Consulado de México en McAllen (Mexican Consulate in McAllen).

Iglesias noted how the City of Austin has helped its economy prosper through entertainment venues, specifically its now famous South by Southwest Music Festival, which has become the largest music festival of its kind in the world.

“According to a 2014 economic impact study by Greyhill Advisors, the economic impact of the South by Southwest Music Festival, which also includes film components, totaled $315.3 million in 2014,” said Iglesias. “First organized in 1987, the South by Southwest Music Festival has had an economic impact on it’s hometown over the past five years of more than $1 billion. These are the high standards by which we in Edinburg set our goals.”

The mayor agreed.

“For several generations, we in South Texas have worked for a medical school, and by the Fall of 2016, we will be finally opening the doors to a UT School of Medicine, including a major presence here in Edinburg,” said Mayor García. “What that shows everyone is all good things are possible for our region. All it takes is determination and hard work, and the South Texas International Film Festival is the latest example of the vision of our people.”

The mayor, along with the Edinburg City Council and EEDC Board of Directors, were influential in the passage of state legislation in 2013 that resulted in the creation of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, which includes a $54 million Medical Academic Building now under construction in Edinburg.

Occupying more than 88,000 square feet, the new Medical Academic Building will be a teaching facility that promotes faculty and student interaction at the beginning stages of medical school, according to the UT System. The building will include an auditorium, digital library, clinical skills center, pre-clinical laboratories and an anatomy teaching facility. Multiple small classrooms, seminar rooms and other features will offer opportunities for small group problem solving and inter-professional educational experiences.

HOW OTHER VALLEY CITIES, COUNTIES PERFORMED IN JULY 2015

Only Pharr, with an improvement of 10.07 percent from January through July 2015 over the same period last year, had a better year-to-date showing than Edinburg among the Valley’s larger city economies, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts reported.

The sales tax, formally known as the State Sales and Use Tax, is imposed on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Texas cities, counties, transit authorities and special purpose districts have the option of imposing an additional local sales tax for a combined total of state and local taxes of 8 1/4% (.0825).

Based on the amount of sales taxes generated, according to the state comptroller’s office, the Valley’s major cities ranked accordingly in the following local sales tax figures, both for January through July 2015, and for July 2015.

January through July 2015

• McAllen: $48,040,223.98, up 1.31 percent compared with January through July 2014 ($47,417,249.05);
• Brownsville: $27,582,403.34, up 3.80 percent compared with January through July 2014 ($26,570,888.11);
• Harlingen: $16,788,513.03, up 3.86 percent compared with January through July 2014 ($16,163,769.30);
• Edinburg: $15,140,562.15, up 5.98 percent compared with January through July 2014 ($14,285,511.68);
• Pharr: $12,062,148.77, up 10.07 percent compared with January through July 2014 ($10,957,964.72);
• Mission: $11,402,398.42, down 1.13 percent compared with January through July 2014 ($11,533,636.64); and
• Weslaco: $9,076,694.37, up 3.58 percent compared with January through July 2014 ($8,762,947.12).

July 2015 compared with July 2014

• McAllen: $4,819,747.27, up 2.20 percent compared with July 2014 ($4,715,748.68);
• Brownsville: $2,759,975.39, down 4.25 percent compared with July 2014 ($2,882,758.71);
• Harlingen: $1,790,453.33, up 4.19 percent compared with July 2014 ($1,718,360.73);
• Edinburg: $1,549,113.91, up 4.00 percent compared with July 2014 ($1,489,519.36);
• Pharr: $1,356,248.66, up 14.60 percent compared with July 2014 ($1,183,373.39);
• Mission: $1,182,498.41, up 0.69 percent compared with July 2014 ($1,174,329.21); and
• Weslaco: $876,868.59, down 3.04 percent compared with July 2014 ($904,402.81).

All cities in Hidalgo County reported a total of $11,888,693.74 in local sales taxes in July 2015, compared with $11,457,883.09 in July 2014, an increase of 3.75 percent. Year-to-date (January through July), all cities in Hidalgo County have registered $115,153,604.96 in local sales taxes, compared with $111,091,398.99 for the same seven months in 2014, an improvement of 3.65 percent.

Hidalgo County government does not collect a local sales tax.

All cities in Cameron County generated $5,899,135.04 in local sales taxes in July 2015, compared with $5,858,010.13 in July 2014, an increase of 0.70 percent. Year-to-date (January through July), all cities in Cameron County have registered $53,792,843.22 in local sales taxes, compared with $51,515,136.92 for the same months in 2014, an improvement of 4.42 percent.

Cameron County government does not collect a local sales tax.

All cities in Starr County produced $420,178.42 in local sales taxes in July 2015, compared with $431,641.21 during the same month in 2014, a decrease of 2.65 percent. Year-to-date (January through July), all cities in Starr County have registered $4,156,444.93 in local sales taxes, compared with $5,890,825.41 for the same period in 2014, a decrease of 29.44 percent.

Starr County government does not collect a local sales tax.

All cities in Willacy County produced $125,681.45 in local sales taxes in July 2015, compared with $123,342.31 during July 2014, an increase of 1.89 percent. Year-to-date (January through July), all cities in Willacy County have registered $1,169,881.39 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,181,728.77 for the same seven-month period in 2014, a decrease of 1.00 percent.

Willacy County government does not collect a local sales tax.

For details of the July 2015 local sales tax figures for all cities, counties, transit systems, and special purpose taxing districts, locate the Monthly Sales Tax Allocation Comparison Summary Reports at the comptroller’s website:

http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/allocsum/compsum.html

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For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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