OUR OPINION: Approve lodging tax increase

An increase in the lodging tax is another step in Jefferson City’s continuing effort to invite growth and development.

Jefferson City voters on Tuesday will be asked to increase the tax from 3 cents to 7 cents for an overnight stay at lodgings within the city.

The increased tax revenue will be used for construction of a conference center, designed to attract larger events to our community.

The existing 3-cent lodging tax is used by the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to promote Jefferson City as a destination. The additional 4 cents will be held by the bureau in a “lockbox” designated for the conference center.

Proponents point out the tax will be paid largely by out-of-town visitors, not by local residents.

Although that is accurate, it is not our primary rationale for supporting the tax increase.

Our focus is on the need for our community — or any community, for that matter — to thrive and prosper.

The concept of a conference center has been on the city’s wish list for longer than some of us can remember.

The sheer tenacity of the idea is a testament to its enduring desirability.

Passage last year of a state law enabling hikes in lodging taxes transformed Jefferson City’s idea into possible reality.

The public-private partnership envisioned by the city to build and operate a convention center in the downtown area represents perhaps the most practical project advanced thus far.

It hinges, however, on Tuesday’s decision.

We encourage Jefferson City residents to cast a vote for growth and prosperity. Approve the lodging tax increase, Proposition A, on Tuesday’s ballot.

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