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Hotel/Motel tax increase gets second wind - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Hotel/Motel tax increase gets second wind

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SHREVEPORT, La -

Despite picking up Duck Commander as a sponsor, officials say the Independence Bowl still needs help attracting people and teams to the game. Last year a hotel motel tax to support the endeavor failed, but officials are giving it another shot this year.

"We needed a sponsor and now we have that. Now we need additional income to come in or additional revenue to come up with a plan that's sustainable." That was Paul Pratt, the 2014 Independence Bowl chairman, at the announcement that Duck Commander would take over the I-bowl as the title sponsor. Pratt says the new hotel motel tax could be just what the bowl is looking for.

"The tax itself will not be on the citizens directly, but for those who will be using the hotels and motels." State Representative Roy Burrell is the author of the 2014 bill. He says he wanted to take up the bill again this year because it's key in supporting the bowl game among other items. The bill this year raises the hotel motel tax rate by 2.5 percent. It then divides the money raised between the I-bowl, the airport and the sports commission. Burrell says, the move is vital to economic development. "We must grow Shreveport's future and I think this is part of Shreveport's future."

"It's not uncommon when you go to New Orleans, you go to Houston, you can go where ever and they have hotel motel taxes." State Rep Henry Burns carried the bill last year in the state's legislature. He says we need all of the state's elected officials from this area to support the bill before it can survive the house. Burns says, he hopes this year, things will be different because he believes the Ibowl, the airports and Sports Commission could help drive visitors to the area. "Unfortunately, the resolution to most shortcomings is funding. And what we're trying to do is address the 3 that we think will have the most impact on potential economic development."

But here in Shreveport, Mayor Cedric Glover says he supports the bill however, he is monitoring it closely. "I think it's a matter of priorities. We should be focused on economic development, we should be focused on the airport and those other considerations should be a part of, not the lead."

If the bill makes it through the state's house and senate, that will only put the issue on the ballot this coming November for you, the voter to make the final decision.

The house bill is set to raise to hotel-motel occupancy tax rates by two and a half percent. 37.5% would go to the Independence Bowl and the Arklatex Regional Airport Alliance. 25% of the funds would go towards the Shreveport Bossier Sports Commission.

 

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