Instead of having a Civic Center that pays for itself, the PAC and Civic Center will both lose millions each year.
In 2007 Commissioner Bob Rackleff said a voter referendum would a€?kill the project.a€? At the 2007 commission meeting he said, a€?Are we out front on this?A  By ourselves? Ia€™m going to vote against this motion [for a voter referendum] which would kill this project [the performing-arts center]. They ought to vote against taking another $800,000 per year from our citizens, visitors and guests. Now is not the time to levy additional taxes on anyone.A In addition to going against the ballots cast by voters, the move to raise the bed tax violates promises made to voters and to the hospitality industry. Voters passed a tourist development tax to promote and enhance local tourism.A  Bed taxes should only be used to enhance local tourism in accordance with the approved marketing plan and the ordinance approved by voters. A Our guests, including hurricane and emergency evacuees, family guests for funerals, weddings and reunions directly pay bed taxes. During this recession, ita€™s wrong to directly pull more money out of our citizensa€™ and visitorsa€™ pockets.A  Ita€™s wrong directly or indirectly to divert another $800,000 per year away from local businesses. Temporary housing during emergencies, divorce, home sales and unexpected situations frequently send local residents to hotels.


For commissioners and the Editorial Board to say that the tax doesna€™t affect our citizens is simply incorrect and uninformed.A  The tax comes directly or indirectly out of the pockets of Leon County citizens.
Restaurants, hotels, citizens and guests will all pay a price for this increase.A A Leon County hoteliers supported a tourist development tax to be imposed on its hotel guests to enhance local tourism and marketing. Some folks opposed the tax because they believed that once the tax was imposed, politicians would eventually misdirect tax collections for other purposes.
The 2004 allocation of 25% of all bed tax proceeds to a proposed PAC has created a serious problem. A More organizations are drawn to the tax trough and in 2008, bed tax trust funds were raided by commissioners for additional arts and culture purposes. Just as politicians promised to spend lottery proceeds to enhance K-12 education; they promised to spend bed taxes to enhance tourism. Leon county citizens and guests shouldna€™t have to pay for a 90% tax funded performing arts center.
Leon County is not a tourist destination city.A  We should not raise our bed tax to the state maximum.
Spending $700,000 to tear down the Johna€™s Building did not kick start contributions.A  Raising the fifth cent will not kick start contributions.


Studies show very few visitors will travel more than 30 a€“ 40 minutes.A  Most will not stay overnight. The commission should consider redirecting the fourth cent as suggested by the Tourist Development Council prior to considering raising the fifth cent.
Operating budgets of arts and culture organizations should not be subsidized with tourist development trust funds. Organizations should follow the Tourist Development Council grant procedure that tracks the number of hotel guests attending the event.
If commissioners dona€™t fully back the PAC funding plan, they should not allow additional taxes to be designated for this project.




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