Springfield tourism officials push for increase in city’s hotel and motel tax

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Officials at the Springfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau want to increase the city’s hotel and motel tax.

Tourism officials say the city’s current hotel and motel tax is not enough. They want to raise it from 5% to 7.5%.

The city’s hotel and motel tax has been a legislative priority from recent Springfield City Council meetings.

For the past four years, Springfield city officials have tried to raise taxes to rates similar to those of St. Louis and Kansas City. The funds will be used to build new sports facilities. However, the state was closing applications.

City officials said that if the state agreed to raise taxes, it would be voted on by the public.

Springfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau chief and CEO, Tracy Kimberlin, said he doesn’t understand how the state won’t allow them to increase this tax to improve their sporting events.

“Well, it’s frustrating,” Kimberlin said. “It puts us at an unfair advantage. We can’t build the facilities they built in their increments because we don’t have that source of funding. So, frankly, it’s not fair.”

Kimberlin said existing facilities are becoming obsolete. The city wants to keep adding events, so hotels can get clients.

But Madalyn Faucett, general manager of the Walnut Street Inn, a family-owned bed and breakfast, said the tax hike could hurt their business.

“It’s a little worrisome,” Fawcett said. “Increasing it is on top of what we are already seeing, the effects of COVID and how that might affect the housing community. It seems a bit inappropriate to raise taxes on it.”

It would be another obstacle to her work, Fawcett said.

“As a locally owned family business, every little cent counts. Every nickel and dime really counts,” Fawcett said. “So that’s just going to be just another thing we have to find a way around it.”

Kimberlin said the tax increase would benefit all Springfield lodging companies.

“From a sports point of view, I think all hotels benefit from sports,” Kimberlin said. “The athletes who came and drew the vans and uniforms, mostly kids. Although we do a lot of adult tournaments as well, they are very well known.”

Kimberlin also said that this tax would affect businesses in Springfield, only hotel and motel customers, not the entire public.

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