Hotel tax increase vote coming soon in Jackson Co. - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Hotel tax increase vote coming soon in Jackson Co.

In eight days, voters in Jackson County will head to the polls to decide the fate of future tourism promotion. (Photo Source: WLOX News) In eight days, voters in Jackson County will head to the polls to decide the fate of future tourism promotion. (Photo Source: WLOX News)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

When the phone rings at the Holiday Inn Express, hardly anyone inquires about the tax rate. That includes Jeff Knox, enjoying his breakfast.

“Normally, once a year, my family and I go on a vacation, a family vacation, and in regard to taxes, we never really think about it. We just look at the quality of the hotel and the comfort and the amusement activities that are around the hotel,” Knox said.

Another man, who simply calls himself Rich, is checking out. He doesn't have a problem paying a little more since most who will have to dig a bit deeper into their pockets come from out of state.

“I think it's basically a fair tax. It would then be assessed on those who are actually using the services in the area. It wouldn't be reflected back on the citizens here within the area,” Rich explained.

Edna Flores and her family are visiting the area. She is checking out the tourism brochures on her table. One thing she didn't check out is what she's going to pay in taxes.

“I have not asked about the tax rate. I just pay what I pay and pass through. It's not something I dwell on,” Flores said.

The bigger question in this debate is how hotel managers and owners feel about the possible increase from 7 percent to 9 percent. Would that damage business? Would it drive people away? The answer, not really, according to Wendy Cox.

“I don't think so. We're lower than a lot of the counties and lower than the other states, so 2 percent is not going to make a big difference,” Cox said.

What could make a difference is more money for tourism promotion. That could mean the service bell at Gulf Hills Resort will be chiming a lot more often.

The vote on the tax increase is next Tuesday, June 23. Polls open at 7 a.m. and will remain open until 7 p.m. Sixty percent of the voters will have to check yes on the ballot in order for the measure to pass.

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