Lodging tax proposals seeing strong opposition in East TN

(WBIR) Several areas in Tennessee are looking for ways to increase funds in their general fund.

One option on the table is to either start a lodging tax or increase the current rate for those areas that already have a general fund.

State lawmakers are looking at five bills having to do with lodging tax. They are HB 2510, HB 1548, HB 2064, HB 2219, and HB 2506. Each bill is expected to be voted on by the House Local Government Subcommittee on Wednesday.

Sevier County Hospitality Alliance (SCHA) and the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association (TnHTA) are opposed to the bills.

Ken Maples, chair-elect of TnHTA and a member of the SCHA, said, "The hotel and motel, or lodging, tax they want to use to fund their general fund. They're not promoting tourism. They're not re-generating tourism to come into their city or their county."

Maples said he believes if the five bills pass they could negatively impact tourism across the state.

"Tennessee could become known, realistically or perception-wise, as one of the highest taxed tourism states to travel to. And we certainly don't need that," said Maples.

Knoxville's State Representative Steve Hall sits on the subcommittee that will vote on the bills he said there doesn't seem to be much support for the five proposals.

Representative Hall said, "I'm opposed to raising taxes on people." He continued, "I've gotten lots of calls and emails from people who are opposed to them just for that reason, because they don't go into tourism."

Maples said, "If you use tourism dollars correctly and tourism taxes correctly they can help you grow your general fund by leaps and bounds."

Contact Info for member of the House Local Government Subcommittee

1. Chairman: Rep. Joe Carr (Lascassas / Murfreesboro), 615-741-2180, rep.joe.carr@capitol.tn.gov

2. Rep. Dale Carr (Sevier County), 615-741-5981, rep.dale.carr@capitol.tn.gov

3. Rep. Jeremy Durham (Franklin), 615-741-1864, rep.jeremy.durham@capitol.tn.gov

4. Rep. Richard Floyd (Chattanooga), 615-741-2746, rep.richard.floyd@capitol.tn.gov

5. Rep. Steve Hall (Knoxville), 615-741-2287, rep.steve.hall@capitol.tn.gov

6. Rep. Matthew Hill (Jonesborough), 615-741-2251, rep.matthew.hill@capitol.tn.gov

7. Rep. Larry Miller (Memphis), 615-741-4453, rep.larry.miller@capitol.tn.gov

8. Rep. Antonio Parkinson (Memphis), 615-741-4575, rep.antonio.parkinson@capitol.tn.gov


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