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Hotel Motel tax introduced to state legislature - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Hotel Motel tax introduced to state legislature

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SHREVEPORT - BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTBS) -

The Hotel/Motel tax bill was introduced to legislators in Baton Rouge on Monday. The bill benefits the Independence Bowl, our local airports and the Sports Commission. If it makes it through the capital it'll be up to you, the voter to decide to levy the tax on our hotels or not. We've introduced you to the bill but we'll take a closer look what the funds will do in our area, if passed. Funds raised from the Hotel Motel Tax Bill could raise as much as $2.6 million dollars a year and gives 37.5% to the Independence Bowl and the Regional Airport Service Alliance and 25% going to the Sports Commission. Supporters say, the tax will spur economic development while critics say, it only raises taxes in a tough economy.

Paul Pratt is the chair of this years Independence Bowl Foundation. He says the title sponsor this year, Duck Commander, only makes up about 21% of the bowls revenue. 35% of the revenue comes from ticket sales. That's why Pratt says we need recurring funds to help support the I-Bowl and the tax would do the trick in getting necessary funds to help lure sports teams to the game. Pratt said, "You have to incentive little league teams and sporting events to come to our area and stay multiple days. They need help in transportation, they need help in hotels, they need all of those things to lure colleges to come to the area."

The other tax fund recipient, is the Arklatex Regional Airport Service Alliance or RASA. Tim Wilhite, the groups president says they were behind the deal to bring direct flights between Shreveport and Denver and they could do more. "With a small incentive, we have a four and a half million dollar economic impact to the community on an annual basis and for that incentive we get a 25 million dollar aircraft that comes to Shreveport, everyday."

Finally the Shreveport Bossier Sports Commission, a division of the Tourism and Convention Bureau takes the remaining 25%. Their spokesperson is Stacy Brown. "Sports is pretty much a 'pay to play' so events require a significant amount of staffing, volunteer time as well as money. So what we're proposing is using additional funds to bring in more sporting events to our area."

The current occupancy tax rate is 4.5%. The tax proposes an increase of up to 2.5% which legislators say is negotiable. If we stick with the 2.5% increase and it's passed, the occupancy tax rate in shreveport bossier will be 7% one of the highest in the state. But brown says, Shreveport Bossier may still be an attractive destination to the price conscious traveler. "It would put us on the higher end of the occupancy tax, however some areas have a little higher sales tax or general tax."

The Hotel Association of Shreveport Bossier's President Tom Lubbe said of the bill, "The Hotel Motel Association of Shreveport Bossier City has been against the increase in hotel taxes that was proposed in 2012 and 2013 and again this year.  The hotel community has always been supportive of the Independence Bowl, more affordable air service and of course the Shreveport Bossier Sports Commission, however the hotel community believes a tax that will raise nearly 3 million dollars a year in perpetuity is excessive with no guaranteed results. We are more concerned with the immediate need of saving the west sides largest hotel room producer, which could cost the loss of jobs."

 

 


To view Representative Burrell's complete bill go to this website <http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/BillInfo.aspx?i=225642>

For our original story on this Hotel/Motel tax click here http://www.ktbs.com/story/25022034/hotelmotel-tax-increase-gets-second-wind

For our story on local airport issues click here http://www.ktbs.com/story/22858893/arklatex-indepth-shreveport-regional-airport?clienttype=mobile

 

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