JEFFERSON CITY - Voters in Miner will have a chance to decide if revenue generated by an existing hotel tax can be used for purposes other than tourism promotion under legislation Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell will sign into law on Wednesday.
Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau, sponsored the bill at the behest of Miner city officials, who said the tax was generating more than needed for tourism purposes.
"All this bill does is jimmy with the uses that money can be put to - provided voters agree," Kinder said.
The measure, which state Rep. Peter Myers, R-Sikeston, handled in the House of Representatives, will change a 1990s state law that authorized the Miner officials to put the original tax proposal before voters, who approved it. In expectation of the bill being signed, the Miner Board of Alderman has already endorsed putting the question on the Aug. 6 city ballot.
Janet Tuttle, Miner city clerk, said the 4 percent tax on hotel stays generates about $200,000 a year. However, the city only spends one quarter of that for promotional purposes in conjunction with the Sikeston and Miner Convention Bureau.
"We can only use it for tourism and promotion and marketing but have nothing really in the way of tourism," Tuttle said.
The city currently has close to $1 million in revenue from the hotel tax sitting untouchable in the bank.
Under the new law, if voters give the OK, 40 percent of the hotel tax revenue could be used for general purposes and another 35 percent for capital improvements. Tourism marketing would still get 25 percent of the money.
Tuttle said city officials would likely use some of the money to extend water and sewer lines into recently annexed areas of the city.
The Board of Aldermen hasn't decided how it would spend the rest of the revenue.
Maxwell is signing the bill and several other minor measures the General Assembly passed during its recently concluded legislative session while Gov. Bob Holden is out of the state attending a conference in Toronto.
The bill is SB 1151.