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Voters to decide on hotel occupancy tax increase on Dec. 10

11 months 5 days 5 hours ago Thursday, November 17 2016 Nov 17, 2016 November 17, 2016 10:12 AM November 17, 2016 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – East Baton Rouge Parish residents will decide on a proposition authorizing a two percent hotel occupancy tax that would be added to hotel guests' nightly room rate on the Dec. 10th ballot.

Proceeds from the tax would produce an estimated $2.6 million each year to fund tourism efforts in the Baton Rouge area while also supporting more than 7,000 local jobs impacted by tourism-related events and activities, officials say.

Local leaders say passing the tax increase would create new sources of funding for tourism-related efforts, allowing for money currently going towards tourism to be freed up for road projects, bridges, sidewalks and police cars.

"This measure would create a recurring revenue stream each year, paid mostly by the out of town visitors coming here, that would allow us to upgrade our facility to be the premiere regional venue for the type of marquee events that we deserve," Michael Day, Raising Cane's River Center General Manager, said.

Officials say the portion of the hotel occupancy tax increase dedicated toward increasing tourism for the Baton Rouge area would go toward:

 - Assuming current tourism-related expenses from the City-Parish annual budget and shifting the burden of those expenses to visitors as opposed to Baton Rouge residents, including funding for the Baton Rouge Film Commission, the City-Parish rental waiver program used to offset costs associated with large meetings or conventions, and incentive dollars traditionally used to attract larger exhibitions or events;

- Creating incentive packages to better compete for visitor-driven events that bring in regional, national and international visitors;

- More effectively competing for sporting events currently overlooking Baton Rouge due to competitive cities' ability to offer greater and more compelling incentives;

- Helping to grow existing events to drive more visitors where a substantial economic impact and return on investment is thereby generated for the Baton Rouge area; and

- Developing and implementing marketing campaigns during times of the year where visitation is low in order to drive and generate business for area businesses during these slower periods.
 
For more information on this hotel occupancy tax increase proposition, visit visitbatonrouge.com/election.

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