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Published on Friday, February 24, 2017

Contact your Senators on lodging tax bill limiting city authority

SB 5827 was heard and passed out of committee last week. It could be acted on by the full Senate as early as this week.

The bill would create a new definition of tourist under the lodging tax statute, which would have the effect of restricting expenditures of lodging tax for tourism promotion, events, and tourism-related facilities. The definition of tourist would be limited to those who stay in overnight accommodations, have traveled more than 50 miles, or have traveled from a different state or country. In addition, it prohibits any lodging tax recipient who fails to submit the required report on tourist activities as ineligible to receive additional distributions until the report is submitted.

AWC testified in opposition to this bill because it breaks the compromise reached on lodging tax authority in legislation passed several years ago, including greater authority for the lodging tax advisory committee, additional reporting processes, and limits on city legislative authority on using this local revenue tool. Sufficient processes are already in place to ensure that lodging taxes are used in the best ways to meet community needs.

Contact your Senator immediately to oppose this limitation of your local authority to determine the use of lodging taxes for community events, tourism marketing, and tourism facilities. Give them an example of a special event or festival in your community that would be negatively affected by this change.

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