McALLEN, RGV – Futuro McAllen wants to know what more can be done to attract Mexican shoppers to the Rio Grande Valley.

To that end the group is hosting a forum this evening at McAllen Public Library Auditorium. Doors open at 6 p.m. The program runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Among the experts slated to attend are McAllen City Manager Roy Rodriguez, Texas-Tamaulipas Trade Group director Francisco Galván Garza, McAllen store owner Jesus Gonzalez, McAllen hotel manager Ed Lopez, Texas Border Coalition standing committee member Monica Weinberg-Stewart, and Trisha Watts, communicators director for McAllen CVS.

Nedra Kinerk

Salvador Contreras, an economist with UT-Rio Grande Valley, will give an economic overview, and Davis Rankin, of KURV Radio, will moderate the forum.

“Mexican shoppers are absolutely critical for the Rio Grande Valley and our economy. Their presence determines whether we have the tax rate we have now or even higher taxes,” said Nedra Kinerk, president of Futuro McAllen.

Recently, at a McAllen Chamber of Commerce breakfast event, McAllen City Manager Rodriguez acknowledged that sales tax revenues for his city are down $5 million.

Kinerk said she hopes her group’s forum will produce a clearer picture on how much of that $5 million is down to a reduction in Mexican shoppers.

“For our forum we have brought together a panel individuals who have experience and expertise in this field. Is there a problem, absolutely yes. We need to figure out what we can we do to fix it.”

Kinerk said Futuro is concerned not just about what is happening in the RGV but also what is happening on the other side of the border in Mexico.

Francisco Galván Garza

“We need to work together on this issue and we hope this panel we have assembled will help us find good solutions. We need a bigger and brighter economy for the Rio Grande Valley and northern Tamaulipas.”

Francisco Galván Garza, of the Texas-Tamaulipas Trade Group, is slated to attend the Futuro forum.

“It is important to assist and participate in this town hall meeting in McAllen to find ways of mutual collaboration to make this shopping season more secure and attractive for Mexican shoppers to come to the RGV and for American travelers heading south to see their families,” Galván said.