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YOUR OPINION: Lodging tax increase opposed

YOUR OPINION: Lodging tax increase opposed

January 30th, 2011 by Randal Dent, Days Inn, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

On Feb. 8 Jefferson City residents will be asked to make a crucial decision about our city's future. This proposal will raise our lodging tax by 133 percent. We have been told by members of our city government that this tax will affect us in no way. This is untrue.

Jefferson City's hotel market is a business market. Most guests who come and stay in our community are here for business. In most cases the cost of their hotel stay is either paid for by the local business that brought them here; or the hotel bill is included in the cost of the services provided to a local business. In other words, this tax is passed off onto our own community in many cases.

We also do a great deal of business with state government. Is it really a wise decision to raise the cost of hotel stays on our communities' largest employer in a time when they are already cutting the budget and local jobs?

When you invite out-of-town guests to a wedding or family reunion, who pays? When the unfortunate happens and out-of-town friends and family must come for a funeral, who pays this tax? When public schools, whose budgets are already hurting, come a visit our community for state track or state cross country, who pays the tax then? To paint this picture as if it is just a bunch of Kansas Jayhawk fans passing through on their way back to Lawrence and paying for our convention center on the way is just untrue.

If this convention center was a wise financial decision then one of the many financially capable entrepreneurs in our community would build it themselves. The fact that they have not, and will not, should be very telling to voters.

If you wish to research this issue further I hope you will take a few minutes and "Google" the words "City funded convention centers" and see what pops up.

If I could ask the voters just one question before they went to the polls it would be this: Is a tax increase, in this economy, a good thing for the competitive nature of our community and its businesses? If your answer to that question is "No" then I hope you will go to the polls and vote against the government funded convention center/tax increase.