Hotel tax a win-win for the city

Published 12:01 am Friday, February 29, 2008

Two times two is four, but two times the estimated total of hotel rooms Natchez will have in a year is potentially close to $2,000 a day.

Two-thousand in new revenue, that is, from the hotel tax the board of aldermen passed Tuesday night, assuming each room is occupied.

The new money isn’t final yet — it needs approval from the Mississippi Legislature.

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But assuming that the tax is finalized, $2 a room per night is going to multiply into big dollars fast.

The money will largely come from out-of-town pockets, making the tax a win-win for Natchez.

The aldermen have outlined a good plan for the future. They want to approve the tourism department’s budgetary plans for the dollars, in order to make sure the money is spent wisely.

That’s the right idea, and we hope both tourism officials and city leaders will review marketing expenses with a fine-toothed comb each year.

Let’s make sure the money is spent on needs, not frivolous things.

And let’s make the money work.

If the city can see a marked increase in the number of guests visiting town because of additional marketing ventures, the tax is well spent.

But, years down the road, city leaders need to make sure the money is still being spent in the way it was originally intended.

Those dollars need not creep into other projects, or be wastefully spent. And if the tax becomes unnecessary, it should be lowered.

Two times two can quickly turn into the ringing of cash registers all over town, and we hope the Legislature will recognize the potential we all know Natchez has.