Senate Committee Hearing on Room Tax Reform!
February 7, 2014
Dear WH&LA Lodging Member:

We just learned that the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism has scheduled a hearing this coming Wednesday, Feb. 12, starting at 10:00 a.m. for four bills, one of which is SB 301 Room Tax Reform, something that we have been pushing for.  

This week WH&LA hosted our Action Day in Madison, and thanks to our participants who rallied some strong pressure from multiple sources that day, the Chair has now included the Room Tax Reform bill in his committee's hearing, allowing the bill to begin moving in the Senate finally!

Now, however, it is time for our members from around the state to add your voices to the following Senate Committee members asking for their support, noting the message points below (or your own).

  • SB 301 on Room Tax Reform is on the schedule for your committee's consideration on this Wednesday Feb. 12, and we want you to know that this is an important bill for our business and many others throughout the state.
  • Room Tax was created to help fund local tourism promotion and local tourist services to generate paid overnight stays that help to grow local tourism.
  • In many cases around the state, municipalities are retaining the majority of room tax revenue for their own municipal purposes.
  • SB 301 creates transparency with room tax by requiring an annual report for those municipalities that impose a room tax, it ensures local control by having local tourism businesses helping to decide how to grow local tourism, it reasonably reduces the amount the municipality may retain from this tax on out of town lodging guests so that more monies can be invested to grow local tourism to benefit the local economy, and it ensures that lodging properties are not required to add their own expenses while collecting this tax on one industry.
  • Recent amendments that include a cap of 5 percent annually on the amount that would go to tourism promotion instead of to municipalities, have made the transition process for municipalities much more affordable, and in most cases will result in a zero net change to their annual room tax retainings. These are significant concessions by the tourism industry, showing our ability to compromise.
  • Room Tax Reform is long overdue on a statewide basis, after 20 years of allowing this tax on lodging guests to pay for municipal projects instead of it's intention to grow local tourism providing jobs and needed revenue for many local businesses.
  • We ask you to support SB 301 and to vote approval when it comes to a vote. Thank you. 
Be sure to include your name, property/business, and address. You can also download WH&LA's Room Tax Reform Proposal and include it in your email to the above committee members, noting that it is an overview of the need for reform and the solutions offered in SB 301.

The Hearing Notice provides the details of the hearing in case you wish to attend. Please let us know if you plan to do so, and if you would be willing to speak or prefer to just register in support on-site - we need both!! Please note that this is the last bill being heard, meaning it may be a while before our bill comes up (unless the Chair decides to change the sequence).

Contact Trisha Pugal on the hearing or to provide any feedback you receive from legislators. THANK YOU!!