Hotel tax won’t hurt, but it may help

Published 12:16 am Monday, June 2, 2008

Will Natchez voters turn heads on beds into tax dollars spent on marketing?

We hope so.

Much discussion has been made lately over a $2 per occupied room hotel tax that Natchez voters will consider on Tuesday’s ballot.

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Anytime a tax is considered, it prompts a small, but vocal group of people to immediately discount the idea as outright ludicrous.

Why, members of this group say, do we need another tax? Don’t we already have enough taxes?

In short, yes, we have enough taxes to provide basic city services — police, fire, etc.

But we don’t have enough taxes to properly market the City of Natchez as a destination.

Legislation that allows for the tax in the first place specifically earmarks it for use to market and promote Natchez.

This is what we’d consider a “good” tax in that it fairly assesses the tax on the people who use the service — tourists.

That means the only people who will be paying the tax are people who stay in Natchez hotels. The hotels don’t get a piece of the funds; they simple act as the collection agency, or the pass-through of the funds. And the tax won’t cost Natchez residents a dime unless they need to rent a room.

So before you vote “no” on the hotel measure, consider that doing so would be nixing something that doesn’t hurt you a bit and likely will help not only your city, but your friends and neighbors, too.

When Natchez thrives, all of its residents generally do, too.

And increasing the marketing dollars for Natchez certainly puts the city in a better position to thrive and we all need that badly.