Travel News Report
May. 8, 2013

Study: Texas groundwater levels suffer sharp drop
The Texas Tribune
Groundwater levels in Texas' major aquifers dropped considerably between 2010 and 2011, as the state's drought intensified, according to a report published recently by the Texas Water Development Board. The report showed significant declines in the Ogallala Aquifer, which underlies much of the Panhandle. The water board monitors 26 wells in the Ogallala, and water levels dropped in all but one during the 2010-2011 period. The average drop was 3.5 feet, with a median decline of 1.8 feet.More

Bill offering more breaks from franchise tax hits House
The Texas Tribune
Texas lawmakers have been waiting for weeks for House Bill 500, from state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, to reach the floor. The bill would spend nearly $400 million to reduce the burden of the state's franchise tax on businesses, also known as the margins tax. Along with addressing how the tax applies to a handful of industries, the bill would make permanent a popular provision that exempts businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts from paying the tax annually. The provision is set to expire next year.More

Study: Cutting business travel can hurt profits
USA Today
Businesses that continued to send employees on the road during the recession were more profitable than those that cut back on business travel, a new study has found. The study, conducted by Oxford Economics and commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, attempted to show how travel can affect a company's bottom line just as businesses are starting to once again spend money on trips to meetings and conferences.More

U.S. Travel Association commends TSA for expanded Pre-Check
Newswire via Travel Agent Central
The U.S. Travel Association has sent out kudos to the Transportation Security Administration for expanding Pre-Check. Eligible program participants will receive expedited screening on select international travel itineraries. Pre-Check is part of TSA's efforts to move away from a one-size-fits-all model to a more intelligence-driven, risk-based system.More

IMEX America: Meeting planners expect more meetings, bigger budgets
Successful Meetings
A majority of North American meeting professionals (67 percent) are more optimistic today than they were a year ago, with 58 percent predicting a slight increase in the number of meetings they will organize this year and 49 percent reporting a slight increase in budgets, according to the latest IMEX America Index of Optimism, released by the IMEX Group.More