Lodging tax bill likely dead

Published 12:52 am Sunday, February 15, 2009

A proposed lodging tax for Pike County likely will not come before the Alabama Legislature this year.

“I think it’s going to die, but I’m going to bring it back up,” said Pike County Commissioner Homer Wright, who is an advocate of the tax.

The resolution passed by commissioners in late November proposes placing an additional 2-percent lodging tax on all hotels in Pike County. This tax is in addition to the 8 percent city and state combined sales tax.

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This would add about $2 to the total costs of a room and could generate between $75,000 and $125,000 each year, depending on hotel occupancy, commissioners have said.

The proposal, which passed in a 3-2 vote, is left in the hands of local legislators, who have to bring the bill before the Alabama Legislature.

Rep. Alan Boothe (D-Troy), who would be the next to take action on the bill, said he hasn’t heard any more on the proposal since he first received it.

And because the commission’s vote was so divided, the bill is something he likely will put on the back burner.

“Until we get a unanimous resolution from the county, I don’t see the senator and I being able to do anything from the Legislature,” Boothe said. “That’s been our policy for 12 years, and I anticipate it to be this time. I don’t think you’ll see any action on the bill.”

The bill passed with opposition from Commissioners Robin Sullivan and Jimmy Barron, who expressed concern the bill would burden local businesses.

But Wright said he wants the bill to pass to generate more funds in hard economic times, without further burdening local residents.

County Attorney Allen Jones said the commission can choose to revisit the proposal, if it chooses.

“Certain matters can be reconsidered by the commission for specific reasons, including, new information; changes in the law; availability of funds; and revised goals of the county,” Jones said. “Typically, a commissioner who voted in the majority on the original proposal must bring the subject matter back.”