TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Starting Sept. 1, more than 750 new laws will go into effect in Texas. Many of them were written by our East Texas legislators. Several of which will affect the restaurant industry. 

“As those that legislate, they don’t mean to do no harm to industries that they don’t know much about but inevitably nothing is impossible for those that don’t have to do it,” said Bob Westbrook with the East Texas chapter of Texas Restaurant Association. 

Local restaurants gathered in Tyler on Friday Afternoon to discuss the outcome of the 88th legislative session. 

Representative Cody Harris sponsored Senate Bill 577, which helps restaurants save time and money with permit fees.  

“Restaurants have to get a lot of permits to operate,” said Kelsey Erickson-Streufert, Texas Restaurant Association. “Their employees have to get a lot of permits. That really adds up, especially in today’s economy and so we were able to get rid of both permits that restaurants and their employees have to pay which is great because money stays in the local business and the local community.” 

Another hot-button issue that came out of this year’s session was property taxes. 

Relief has been passed for homeowners, but it affects restaurants more than you may think.   

 “Homeowners have homestead protections that sort of slow the rate of their property tax bills growing,” added Erickson-Streufert. “Even though you’re in a high growth area like Tyler where your values are increasing significantly, you’re protected. You know your bills are only going to go up so much every year. Businesses don’t have any of those protections.” 

It’s something that this industry has to keep a close eye on. 

“The hospitality industry is the largest employer in the city of Tyler,” said Westbrook. “It’s also the largest employer in Smith County. It’s the largest employer in the state.”  

It took Governor Abbott calling a special session to get the deal done but now it will impact all of Texas. 

“We were very happy that the legislature heard that message and dedicated 12 billion dollars for property tax relief for everyone,” said Erickson-Streufert. “Commercial, residential, homeowners, renters, it’s really going to benefit everyone across our state.” 

They say it should benefit the bottom line of businesses across the Lone-Star State.