Lawmakers to consider raising hotel tax for new Titans stadium
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - There’s a new piece to the puzzle in Nashville’s attempt to find the funding for a new Tennessee Titans stadium.
State lawmakers are now considering a bill that would allow Metro Council to raise the city’s hotel-motel tax. The bill, introduced Wednesday in the House Ways and Means Committee, would increase the tax by 1 percent.
“I just don’t think it’s good for Nashville. It’s definitely not good for my business,” Belle Air Mansion and Inn owner Lewis James said. “I just think that as the total costs [to my rooms] go up, it hurts me as a business owner.”
Estimates revealed in the financial analysis for the bill show that an increased hotel tax would raise between $10 million and $20 million each year for 30 years.
The cost of a new Titans stadium is estimated at $2 billion. City leaders hope a new stadium would put Nashville in the mix for mega-events such as the Super Bowl and Final Four.
Gov. Bill Lee has proposed $500 million in state funds for the project. The Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp (NCVC) CEO Butch Spyridon sent a statement.
“We support the hotel industry stepping up with a proposal to add up to 1% on the hotel occupancy tax. In addition, this further strengthens the Mayor’s intent to protect Nashville taxpayers and the general fund. Our industry sees the benefit of an enclosed stadium to generate additional tax revenue and global marketing through big events like Super Bowl and the Final Four, and this proposal creates a path forward. Enabling Metro to increase the hotel tax will generate significant revenue, and we even think the state estimate may be low. But this is just one revenue stream, and we recognize there is more work to be done to have a comprehensive solution.”
James said a new stadium wouldn’t benefit his hotel because it’s not downtown. For that reason, he doesn’t think he should have to chip in. He tells News 4 between the current 6 percent hotel tax, he also pays more than 9 percent in sales tax on his rooms.
“Why in the world would people who are making tens of millions of dollars put a tax on people making tens of thousands of dollars. It just doesn’t seem fair to me. It just doesn’t seem right,” James said. “Every business should stand on its own. When I renovated this 200-year-old bed and breakfast, I didn’t get a dime from the government. Nobody subsidized me in any way shape, or form.”
Bill sponsor Rep. Bill Beck (D) said the proposal would be terminated if the other funding for a new Titans stadium couldn’t be secured.
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