Current Issues 
Protecting the Rights and Providing Recources for the Texas Music Industry!



Texas Music Incubator Program

HB 2806 - (Rep. Morrison) - SB 1832 (Sen. Alvarado)
Please contact Committee Chair: State Senator Kelly Hancock

The Texas Music Incubator Program (TMIP) legislation to create a mixed beverage tax rebate program, administered and established within the Texas Music Office for qualifying Texas music venues. This program will help to save these diminishing venues by assisting with costs such as paying/booking live music acts, marketing and promotion, along with venue and equipment upkeep.

The Texas Music Incubator Program (TMIP) would be funded by a small percentage of the mixed beverage gross receipts tax collected by qualified music venues and paid into a rebate fund. Additionally:
The Texas Music Office would consider rebate applications submitted via online portal based solely on the definition of music venue provided in statute. Each grant amount would be commensurate with the amount of tax paid by the qualified music venue and subject to a cap of $100,000,
Music venues must meet the codified definition for at least two years prior to enactment of the statute,
The TMIP rebate fund would also have the authority to accept gifts, grants, contributions, and donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and other non-profits,
The rebate fund shall not be eligible for sweeps to General Revenue at the end of each biennium,
Tax rebates last for a period of one year and must be renewed annually through the application process,
To qualify as Texas music venue under this program, an establishment must meet a pre-specified criteria.
UPDATE HB 2806 Texas Music Incubator Program (TMIP) legislation to create a mixed beverage tax rebate program, administered and established within the Texas Music Office for qualifying Texas music venues.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, has already sailed through the Texas House, but has struggled to advance in the Senate. The bill had its first hearing in the Texas Senate last week, but has yet to be voted on by the Senate with just a week remaining in the Legislature’s session.

Stuck in Senate Business & Commerce Committee
After considering a bill, the committee may choose to take no action or may issue a report on the bill to the chamber at large. In a favorable report, the committee may recommend passage of the bill without amendments, recommend amendments to the bill, or substitute a new bill for the original bill. An unfavorable report generally kills the bill.

The bill has opposition from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative group based in Austin. Carine Martinez, a policy analyst for the TPPF, testified against creating the music incubator program saying it would be an example of the government trying to pick winners and losers in the market place.

The Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pensions Most recent update: ON GOING
Many in the multiemployer pension plan community expected significant developments in 2018 in the ongoing effort to address the multiemployer pension plan solvency crisis. There were higher than usual expectations when the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans (JSC) was formed in early 2018 and tasked with developing legislative solutions to improve the solvency of multiemployer pension plans and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Unfortunately, after a year-long effort during which several ideas were discussed, the JSC failed to agree on any formal proposal. In the wake of the JSC’s demise, the so-called “Butch Lewis” Act has been reintroduced.
Joint Select Committee Formation and Activities
The JSC had 16 members, equally divided between Republicans and Democrats. Under the terms of the enabling legislation, the JSC was to develop a report detailing its findings and recommendations along with proposed legislative language by November 30, 2018. The House and Senate would then vote on that legislative language before December 31, 2018. The JSC was unable to meet the November 30 deadline for the report and subsequently no vote was taken by either the House or Senate.
Although the JSC was unable to reach a consensus, it did achieve a unanimous understanding among its members that delaying a solution will only increase the magnitude of the problem. JSC members acknowledged that several large multiemployer pension funds are facing insolvency within the next 5-10 years and the PBGC’s multiemployer program will run out of money to pay benefits within 10 years unless some remedial action is taken. The JSC held several days of hearings (co-author Tim Lynch was asked to testify during one of the hearings, and his testimony is available here). Acknowledging the problem did not, unfortunately, lead to consensus on a solution.

Joint Select Committee Proposals
Although it is difficult to ascertain the views of each member of the JSC, it appears there were two primary proposals that emerged. First, all eight Democratic members voiced strong support for some type of loan program and expressed concerns about any solution that would lead to benefit cuts for participants. An alternative solution would have allowed troubled plans to transfer to the PBGC (in what is called a “partition”) those beneficiaries who no longer have a contributing employer making contributions to the plan. These so-called “orphan” participants are a major reason for many troubled plans’ poor financial condition. Among other additional changes, the alternative solution would have significantly increased PBGC premiums for all multiemployer plans.

Legislative bills and State issues that have an impact on the association

Two bills have been filed this session that would do away with Texas Music Office and the Texas Film Commission completely: Senate Bill 99 by Sen. Bob Hall, R-Canton and House Bill 779 by Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-West Plano. 

The Society of Talent & Entertainment Professionals (STEP) and The Texas Music Alliance (TMA) strongly oppose these bills. The members of STEP, TMA  as well as thousands of Texas Music related businesses have all been contacted to make them aware of these bills.  We intend to strongly oppose Sen. Bob Hall and Rep. Matt Shaheen’s bills with petitions of any unfavorable bills that adversely affect the growth and vitality of Texas music and music related businesses throughout our state.

The Music Industry throughout Texas generates economic development and also benefits Texans with thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of music revenue as well as international branding that is a key factor for companies outside the music industry to compete for high quality workforce recruitment, and also attracts technology companies and other employers to locate to Texas.

The Texas Music Office (TMO) assists and promotes the development of the music industry in the state by informing musicians, music professionals and the public about the resources available in the state for the perpetuation and promotion of the Texas Music Industry.

As professional musicians and music professionals in the Texas Music Industry, and fans of Texas music, we ask you to stand against the abolishment of the Texas Music Office, in our opinion, this would be a mistake that would affect ourselves, the quality of music, and the music business in Texas.

Over view of bills

85(R) HB 779 Authored by: Shaheen and 85(R) SB 99 Authored by Hall 

Relating to the abolishment of the Music, Film, Television, and Multimedia Office in the office of the governor and the moving image industry incentive program.

(a) The Music, Film, Television, and Multimedia   Office in the office of the governor is abolished.          

(b)  All records and other property in the custody of the   Music, Film, Television, and Multimedia Office are transferred to the office of the governor.          

(c)  All unobligated and unexpended appropriations of the   Music, Film, Television, and Multimedia Office lapse.          

(d)  All donations, gifts, and grants made to the Music, Film, Television, and Multimedia Office shall be transferred

This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.

These bills would eliminate the office and, therefore, it's ability to monitor the growth and promotion of the Texas Music Industry. 
We feel that this would be a net negative for music industry here in Texas to say nothing of the negative impact on the film industry. 

We are also in support of Funding the Moving Image Industry Incentive Program (Film, Television, Commercial and Video Game Incentives) at the $70 million level.  Current biennium funding is $24 million. Film incentives are vital for keeping the film business thriving in Texas.  

85th Legislative Update 

The House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Article 1 met on February 27th and voted NOT to include the $5million TCA Cultural District funding in the budget.

The $5 million was put in "Article 11" which is a holding place for appropriations still under consideration and which can become part of the budget discussions for the Conference Committee which will be appointed and begin meeting late March or early April. Note, the arts aren't being picked on - many a new appropriation from the 84th Session was not funded. Being placed in Article 11 is the next safest place! However, that still means we need to speak up and stay engaged!

* Know who represents you! Find out at:

* Sign up at Texas Legislature Online at and sign up Action Alerts for: Senate Finance Committee; House Appropriations Committee; House Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee; House Economic & Small Business Development Committee.

Other priorities for the 85th Texas Legislative Session.  

These issues are predicated on our commitment and responsibility to ensure that Texas legislators understand the importance of the arts in sustaining our vibrant Texas economy and in educating our children through both research and data, and through advocacy efforts by constituents on the impact of the arts in their own respective legislative districts.

Support the current provisions of the Texas Tax Code, Chapter 351, regarding the authorized use of the Municipal Hotel Occupancy taxes (“HOT”) that support tourism and the hotel and convention industry by the encouragement, promotion, improvement and application of the arts in all forms, as defined in Chapter 351. Texans for the Arts also advocates for local governments to allocate the Municipal Hotel Occupancy Tax’s 15% arts provision to promote and encourage the arts and further Texas’ economic creative industries and its national reputation as a lively, dynamic and thriving cultural tourism destination. Partner: Texas Hotel &Lodging Association, Dallas Arts Advocacy Coalition

Support an Amendment to ‘Chapter 351.108 Records’ to require each municipality that levies HOT to produce an annual HOT report to the State Comptroller clarifying: tax rate; total Chapter 351 revenues; and % revenue and total allocations to arts organizations pursuant to 351.101(1)(4); tax rate imposed by the city pursuant to 351.003.  Partner: Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, Dallas Arts Advocacy Coalition

Ensure the base legislative appropriation for the Texas Commission on the Arts (“TCA”), with a particular focus on maintaining the Cultural & Fine Arts District funding as related to Texans for the Arts’ successful appropriation efforts in the 85th Session. [The TCA successfully passed Sunset review in 2013 and was reauthorized as an independent agency for the next 12 years (SB 202).] According to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), Texas ranks 43rd out of the 50 states in per capita funding for the arts. Texas spends $0.28 per capita as compared to an average of $1.11 for all state arts agencies. Minnesota leads the states with $7.08 in per capita arts funding; neighboring states support as follows: Arkansas - $0.54; Oklahoma - $0.75; New Mexico - $0.67; and Louisiana - $0.46. The TCA’s role in state arts funding is vital for its mandate and commitment to maximizing access to the arts across the entire state and for its role in securing the National Endowment for the Arts’ funding in Texas. Partner: Dallas Arts Advocacy Coalition, Texas Travel Industry Association, Texas Association of Business

Keep Texas Open for Business: Support legislation and public policy that provides for inclusion and equal treatment across all sectors of our state including, but not exclusive to those policies that affect the arts, business, cultural tourism, travel and all forms of economic activity. Legislation that can be used to discriminate against Texas residents and visitors is projected to have a negative economic impact of as much as $8.5 billion in lost GDP and 185,000 lost jobs, especially from reduced travel and tourism. Inclusion and equal treatment of all members of our society are core values of Texans for the Arts and central to its mission.  Inclusion means a commitment to making all members of our society feel welcome and comfortable. In achieving core values of equity and inclusion, TFA is committed to diversity in every aspect of our society.  Diversity in this context refers to groups, communities and individuals identified by race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, age, or disability status.  Partner: Texas Association of Business, Dallas Arts Advocacy Coalition

Support the education and business community’s commitment in concert with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to ensure “the arts and music” as defined by Every Student Succeeds Act (“ESSA”) include “music, dance, media arts, theatre, and visual arts”, and part of a “well rounded education” and that Texas ensure and promote eligibility access of Title 1, Title 2, and Title 4 funds to support appropriate arts-related activities and programs including professional training for arts educators.  Partners: Texas Cultural Trust, Texas Music Educator’s Association

Fund the Moving Image Industry Incentive Program (Film, Television, Commercial and Video Game Incentives) at the $70 million level.  Current biennium funding is $24 million. Film incentives are vital for keeping the film business thriving in Texas.  The Texas legislature cut the film incentive program significantly in 2015. The film industry is losing business to neighboring states with more well-funded incentive programs.  Partners: Texas Film Commission, City of Fort Worth, City of San Antonio 

Protect state historic preservation tax credits for both for profit and nonprofit corporations owning historic properties.  Ensure that tax credits continue to incentivize restoration of significant historic interiors, as well as the creation of affordable housing as part of revitalization efforts in historic Texas downtowns.  Partner: Preservation Texas

Support the creation of the Texas Arts Impact Legislative Caucus “to promote the value of public investment in the arts and to build consensus around and advance a pro-arts policy and legislative agenda” in the Texas State Legislature.  

Support and grow membership in the existing Fine Arts Education Caucus to build consensus around and advance a pro-arts-education policy including expanding opportunities and access for all public school students to an arts rich curriculum led by certified arts teachers.  Partner: Texas Music Educator’s Association

TCA  Customer  Service  Survey
Deadline:  May 12, 2016

The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) is trying to assess the quality of its customer service.  We ask you to please take a few minutes from your busy day to complete our online survey.  We plan to use the information gathered through this online survey to refine our services and to help the Legislature understand the scope of our work.  Through this process, we hope to better serve you and the arts industry in Texas!  

Your participation and feedback on this survey is of tremendous importance.  Please complete the online survey no later than May 12, 2016.

To get to the online survey, click this link: 

Please take this survey

TCA's Next Budget to be Determined in Legislative Session
The 84th Session of the Texas Legislature will begin on Tuesday, January 13. Since the Texas Legislature meets biennially, it will make decisions on two years' worth of State budgeting, including TCA's budget for fiscal year 2016 (September 1, 2015-August 31, 2016) and fiscal year 2017 (September 1, 2016-August 31, 2017). As part of the budget process, TCA filed a Strategic Plan and Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR). The format of the LAR allows TCA to request the amount of its current two-year budget as the Base Appropriations Request, and to ask for additional Exceptional Items as additions to the budget for the coming two years.

Highlights from the Legislative Appropriations Request (available in full here) include:

Base Appropriations Request:           $13,329,144 over the biennium 
Exceptional Items:                                  $28,024,000 over the biennium (detailed below)

Exceptional Item Detail
According to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), Texas ranks 45th out of the 50 states in per capita funding for the arts. Texas spends $0.21 per capita, as compared to an average of $1.15 for all state arts agencies. Minnesota leads the states with $6.31 in per capita arts funding. The Commission seeks the following exceptional items in order to remain competitive with other states in support of economic development through the cultural industries:

   - Exceptional Item #1 - Executive Director Salary Increase 
TOTAL: $24,000 over the biennium. The agency's Commissioners have unanimously voted to seek an increase to the authorized salary level for the agency's Executive Director. 

   - Exceptional Item #2 - Cultural Districts Appropriation
TOTAL: $20,000,000 over the biennium. TCA has designated 26 unique cultural districts throughout the state as centers that provide economic development and cultural tourism opportunities. Current and future cultural districts are in need of staffing support, infrastructure (signage and capital improvements), marketing budgets, and event underwriting. 

   - Exceptional Item #3 - Arts Organization Grants for Rural & Veterans Initiatives
TOTAL: $6,000,000 over the biennium. TCA must expand its programs in rural areas, serve veterans and military families, and serve senior citizens. Additional funds would be used to improve TCA's ability to provide grants and services in these three areas.

   - Exceptional Item #4 - Arts Education Grants for School Buses Initiative
TOTAL: $2,000,000 over the biennium. Budgetary constraints in Texas are affecting school districts' fine arts programs, particularly in those districts serving minority and at-risk populations. TCA funding is essential in helping schools to overcome these challenges in providing arts education for the state's students. 

TCA's Legislative Appropriations Request will be considered as part of House Bill 1. After the Legislature convenes on January 13, committee appointments will be made. The House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will review TCA's LAR and discuss all requested amounts. They may make recommendations that TCA receive less than TCA's Base Appropriations Request, and all, part, or none of any of the Exceptional Item Requests. The Legislative Session will end on June 1, 2015.

Austin Busking Issues
Though street performing, also known as busking, is not illegal in Austin, our artists continue to be cited for soliciting, panhandling, and loitering while performing in public spaces. Because of confusing and competing ordinances and overlapping regulations, a musician may be told to stop playing - or even to leave a public space - Without actually being in direct violation of any city ordinance regarding street performing.

Austin's regulations and ordinances regarding busking need to be updated to accurately reflect the values of the Live Music Capital of the World. For many artists, street performance is a political, social or artistic choice, or even a career goal. Beautifying our cities, getting paid to practice, meeting new audiences, giving art to those who can’t afford staged live performances, or just choosing to live an alternative lifestyle to the regular 9 to 5, are all legitimate, worthwhile, and most importantly, legal goals.

Law enforcement officers need to have clear and dependable guidelines - rather than conflicting ones Everyone should sign the petition, which will be presented at the next City of Austin Music Commission meeting.

Contract Labor (1099) vs. Employee W2

Independent Contractor Tests
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Rule 13 Hearing
Employers who wish to dispute issues involving coverage, taxes or penalties can request a special hearing with TWC. The meeting, called a Rule 13 Hearing, allows employers a hearing in any case involving tax liability or any question relating to contributions or reimbursements. A TWC hearing officer will conduct a telephone hearing, which includes a Tax Department representative, and then prepare a
proposal for TWC Commissioners. The Commission considers and decides Rule 13 tax cases at their regularly scheduled public meetings.

A request for a Commission Rule 13 tax hearing must be submitted in writing to the TWC Tax Department by mail or fax, as described on this page under Request for a Rule 13 Hearing.

The appeal process is structured so that you do not need an attorney. You may choose to have an attorney or other person represent you at your own expense.
There are two levels of appeal:

Request for TWC Rule 13 Hearing
Motion for Reconsideration or Appeal to a Civil Court You start with the first appeal level, and if you disagree with that decision, you may proceed to the other

Suggested Certified Public Accountant
Layne Lauritzen 
(512) 447-5555