An advocate for a strong economy and free enterprise, your Abilene Chamber connects members and elected representatives on topics impacting business and quality of life in our region.

The Chamber’s Business Advocacy Council serves as the region’s advocate for business at the local, state and federal levels representing the combined clout of over 1,300 plus members in diverse industry sectors throughout the community. Together we work to ensure that pro-business, pro-growth solutions are always included in the political debate. We offer various opportunities for business leaders to become involved in the political process, including forums and briefings with local, state and federal lawmakers.


Abilene Chamber Board of Directors Votes to Support Upcoming Items on Nov. Ballot

The Abilene Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted unanimously at their Sept. meeting to support the proposed City-wide bond issues, the continuation of the Taylor County Events Venue District, the proposed Wylie Independent School District Bond and 12 of the 14 proposed State Constitutional Amendments – all on the ballot this Nov.

“As the Big Country’s largest business advocacy organization, it’s important to note that we are a pro-growth, pro-community organization,” said Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce. “We are not a ‘pro-tax’ organization. However, after significant research, discussion, and ultimately a recommendation from the Chamber’s Business Advocacy Council, members of the member-led Board of Directors voted unanimously that each of these projects will not only help our community remain economically competitive for the future but help us continue to meet our mission of developing and promoting the economy and quality of life for all.”

To help you understand the issues on the ballot, the Chamber’s Business Advocacy Committee has compiled additional information on all of the issues below.

Abilene-Taylor County Events Venue District

Abilene-Taylor County Events Venue District

  • Paid for by visitors through the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT), this type of tax can only be used to support specific types of tourism venues as stated in Texas law and approved by the Comptroller of the State of Texas. It cannot be used for other general purposes such as street repairs, police etc. (Texas Local Government Code 334 and 335).
  • More Information

City of Abilene Bond Issues

City of Abilene Bond Issues

  • Proposition A – Abilene Zoo Projects – $15 million
    • The Abilene Zoo is looking to double its size with a nearly $24.5 million expansion, complete with a new cafe that has a view of the exhibits. Now, zoo staff have released drawings of the potential changes. $9.5 million privately-fundraised dollars.
  • Proposition B – Recreation Center Improvements – $28 million
    • The Parks & Recreation Department proposes the demolition, design, rebuilding, & outfitting of two recreation centers that are past their useful life and get them up to health & safety code.
  • Proposition C – Hike & Bike Trail Improvements – $9 million
    • $9 million bond will fund the construction of a 10K trail around the lake that connects to the new Maple Street sidewalk that meets up with the Cedar Creek Trail.
  • More Information

Wylie ISD Bond Issues

Wylie ISD Bond Issues

  • Proposition A – Facilities and Equipment — $234 million
    • Wylie High School Expansion and Upgrades

      New Elementary School

      East Intermediate Expansion (Phase 2)

      Security and Technology Upgrades around the District

      Buses and Transportation

      Existing Campus Renovations

      Paving Improvements

      District Wide Equipment and Finishes

  • Proposition B – Community Events Center — $29 million
    • Community Event Center
  • Proposition C – Student & Teacher Technology Devices — $6 million
    • Student and Teacher Devices

  • More information

State Constitutional Amendments

Proposition 1 – Agricultural Practices

  • Prohibits a city from restricting an agriculture-related activity within city limits unless it is dangerous or harmful.

Proposition 2 – Child Care Provider Property Tax Cut

  • Allows governmental entities to exempt part or all of their appraised value.

Proposition 3 – Prohibiting a Wealth Tax

  • Prevents the legislative from imposing a tax on net worth of an individual or business.

Proposition 4 – Omnibus Property Tax Cuts

  • Increases homestead exemption from 40k to 100k; creates three elected positions on central appraisal boards in counties with 75,000 residents or more and limits the increase in taxable values for non-homestead properties to no more than 20% per year.

Proposition 5 – Creating the Texas University Fund

  • Establishes a $3 billion endowment to assist emerging research Universities. This would initially include Texas State, Texas Tech, University of Houston, and University of North Texas, and other Universities can apply to be included.

Proposition 6 – Creating the Texas Water Fund

  • Creates Texas Water Fund with $1 billion under direction of Texas Water Development Board.

Proposition 7 – Creating the Texas Energy Fund

  • Public Utility Commission (PUC) will administer a $5 billion fund for loans or grants to finance or incentivize construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities to improve the reliability of the electric grid.

Proposition 8 – Creating Broadband Infrastructure Fund

  • Comptroller administers a $1.5 billion fund to finance infrastructure to expand broadband internet service to underserved areas of the state.

Proposition 9 – COLA for Teacher Retirement System Retirees

  • $5 billion fund, 2-6% raises depending when teachers retired, $2,400 one-time check age 70,-74, $7,500 one-time check over 75+.

Proposition 10 – Medical Manufacturing Property Tax Exemption

  • Establishes an ad valorem tax exemption on equipment and inventory manufactured by medical or biomedical companies.

Proposition 11 – El Paso Conservation District Bonds – NEUTRAL

  • Allows El Paso to issue bonds for recreational purposes.

Proposition 12 – Abolishing Galveston County Treasurer’s Office – NEUTRAL

  • Gives Commissioners Court authority to employ or contract to get work done.

Proposition 13 – Increasing mandatory retirement age for judges

  • Changes mandatory retirement age from 75 to 79.

Proposition 14 – Creating state park fund

  • $1 billion to improve or create new state parks.

More information

Abilene Chamber Legislative Agenda for the 88th Texas Legislature

The mission of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce is to develop and promote the economic growth and quality of life in the Abilene area. The Abilene Chamber and its 1,300+ members believe free enterprise and job creation are the solution for creating a higher quality of life for Abilene residents. The Abilene Chamber, on behalf of its members and affiliates, will pursue a pro-growth agenda that creates an environment that encourages job growth, population growth and entrepreneurship. To view an in-depth version of the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda, follow the link below.

View the full agenda.

The Business Advocacy Committee

The Chamber’s Business Advocacy Council is made up of five voting members from the Chamber who will be approved by the Chamber’s Executive Committee, and four non-voting members from the staffs of lawmakers representing Abilene in Austin and Washington.

Chair – Mitch Barnett, Barnett & Hill

Norman Archibald, Hendrick Health System

Gary Grubbs, Lawrence Hall Abilene

Jay Hardaway, West Texas Strategies

Kaley Kapke, Congressman Jodey Arrington

Laura Lewis, Senator Charles Perry

Robyn Wertheim, State Representative Stan Lambert

Government Affairs Help

Need help with something related to local, state or federal government for your business? Reach out!