Humboldt County considers uses of tourist tax revenue – Times-Standard
Tourists could be taxed more for staying at local hotels if voters approve Measure J in June, and county supervisors want input from the tourism industry on how that extra tax revenue is spent.
In just over a month, Humboldt County voters will decide whether tourists should be taxed 12% instead of the current 10% when they stay overnight in hotels, campgrounds, RV parks -cars and other accommodations in unincorporated parts of the county. On Tuesday, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to form a task force to recommend how it should spend the additional revenue generated by the Transitional Occupancy Tax, also known as the Tax on beds, if the increase is approved by voters.
“I think we can all work together on this, make sure we have broad representation so we can do our best with these resources,” 5th District Supervisor Steve Madrone said.
The county raised $2.6 million in bed tax revenue this fiscal year, and the 12% increase is expected to generate an additional $880,000 annually. Most of the revenue goes to the General Fund, which funds most county services, while 18% goes to a contract with the Humboldt County Visitors Bureau and an additional 5% and an additional $20,000 per year goes to the County County Commission. Humboldt County movie.
The decision to put the tax increase on the June 7 ballot received support from the local arts community, but was opposed by the local hotel community, which was not actively included in a survey of likely voters on whether to approve the increase.
Calder Johnson of the North Coast Repertory Theater said public support for the arts was important and urgent at this time as many arts organizations struggle to emerge from the pandemic.
“We still face a very difficult and uncertain future,” Johnson said.
Humboldt Lodging Alliance chairman Chris Ambrosini said the hospitality industry understands the importance of the arts to tourism, but he believes discussion of a tax increase could have been avoided if the accommodation industry had been included from the start.
“We really think we could have found a different solution,” Ambrosini said.
The group is expected to consist of 2nd District Supervisor Michelle Bushnell, 3rd District Supervisor Mike Wilson, County Administrative Officer, Director of Economic Development, Sheriff, Treasurer-Tax Collector, Executive Director of the Humboldt County Visitors Bureau, the County Film Commissioner, a representative from the Housing Trust Fund, a representative from the Humboldt Lodging Alliance and the Executive Director of the Ink People Center for the Arts.
Sonia Waraich can be reached at 707-441-0504.