City and county leaders met with local merchants about the changes that may be on the way to how the state handles manifiestos. Because of abuses of the system, some state leaders have proposed doing away with the system altogether. Our Ryan Bailey was there and brings us more in our top story tonight at ten.
Local storeowners and U.S. Customs Brokers are concerned that by doing away with the manifiestos program, it would severely hamper business in the Gateway City.
"This would kill Laredo. The Mexican shopper comes here because of that, because of the tax rebate."
According to the U.S. State Department, Mexico is the U.S.’s third largest trading partner, with much of their purchases coming from the state of Texas.
"Everything that Mexico buys from the United States, 80% is bought in Texas."
If these bills pass it would not only be the downtown area affected, but also large chain stores like this one.
"They go downtown, they go to the mall, they go to Wal-mart, they go to Target and so if you take away this incentive they won't go there either."
"It not only affects the downtown area and the retailers, it affects the restaurants, the hotels, the entertainment industry. It's a domino effect."
The City is behind keeping this program, but only if changes are made to keep the abuses to a minimum.
"You go to some of the parking lots and people are offering that service of manifiestos, knowing full well that the intent is never to have that merchandise leave the country."
Commissioner Garza was in Austin earlier this week and he believes tweaks will be made but the entire program will not be scrapped.
"I think we've been able to get the message across that the elimination would be very counter productive, not only to Laredo and the border, but San Antonio, Austin, Houston and Dallas."
Those in attendance today are just hoping that they don't see their business driven away over this issue.
"It just makes it more cumbersome, more expensive and drives people away."
Ryan Bailey, Laredo's pro 8 news.
Some of the proposed changes include no longer allowing multiple receipts to be claimed together, as well as charging customs brokers more in fines for merchandise not leaving the country.