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Waco now has the highest hotel occupancy rate in Texas—82.7 percent. Midland, which has the second-highest rate, is at 77 percent occupancy. This constitutes a 7.1 percent increase in Waco’s occupancy rate year-to-date. During this quarter last year, Waco’s occupancy rate was 75.6 percent.

This is due in large part to the increased levels of tourism in Waco, largely spurred by HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market at the Silos. And investors are betting on even more.

Fueled by an increase in demand for hotel rooms, seven hotels either currently under construction or have recently received the approval necessary to begin construction in the Waco area. People in the hotel business in Waco are dubbing this the “Magnolia effect,” noting that the Gaines’ entrepreneurship is a large force behind Waco’s current economic boom.

The Gaines’ influence on Waco’s economic revival further demonstrates that free people left to their own devices are a far better force for economic growth and development that interventionist governments.

This boom should have major implications for sales tax revenues in Waco which will hopefully be harnessed to reduce property tax burdens for homeowners. This, of course, assumes municipal lawmakers refrain from rent-seeking regulatory actions that could damage existing economic growth and dissuade further investment.

Taxpayers must demand local officials don’t damage this economic growth by levying oppressive anti-business taxes the instant they see an opportunity to do so and they put taxpayers first.