Jackson Co. voters pass 2 percent occupancy tax increase - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jackson Co. voters pass 2 percent occupancy tax increase

(Photo Source: WLOX News) (Photo Source: WLOX News)

The residents of Jackson County have spoken. They voted to raise the county-wide hotel and motel tax by 2 percent to generate more money to promote the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a unified tourism destination.

The unofficial results show 71 percent of voters are on board with the tax hike. The measure passed with 2,650 votes for the tax increase and 1,077 against.

“This is a defining moment for the Mississippi Gulf Coast; a tipping point, if you will, that has bent the arc of our current and future economic development in a strongly positive direction,” said Donna Brown, Chairperson of the OneCoast for Jackson County Committee. “And just think, tonight, Jackson County has led the way to that brighter economic future for the whole Gulf Coast. We are now OneCoast.”

The increase from 7 percent to 9 percent is expected to generate around $700,000 annually. That money will be turned over to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau to help pay for tourism promotion campaigns.

The increased occupancy tax rate is already in effect in Harrison and Hancock Counties to help promote tourism efforts.

Earlier this year, county leaders decided to hold the vote in a special election instead of waiting for the November general election.

Hotel managers say the tax increase won't affect locals, and it will be too small to turn away visitors.

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