Lexington's legislative request for authority to raise the city transient room tax seems to face clear sailing in the Kentucky House, The backing comes as time winds down for the 2014 session of the General Assembly.
The Lexington proposal calls for raising the city's hotel-motel tax from six to eight and a half percent. The increase would generate about three and a half million dollars per year with the money going toward the Rupp Arena and Convention Center projects. The bill passed the House Local Government Committee unanimously and is expected to pass the full House. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says he and his staff are working the Senate as well. "We take those good signals, but we also know we've got to be vigorous in our efforts to advocate for the legislation," said Gray. The money raised by the tax increase would not all go to the downtown projects. Marty Rothchild is with the Hilton Hotel and a member of the Lexington and Convention Visitors Bureau. "The majority of it will be used for the Rupp Arena project and there's also the possibility that some of it will be used at the Horse Park. The Horse Park's been operating at a deficit for many years and they'd like to try to address that as well, but the majority of the funds will go to the Rupp Arena project," said Rothchild. If General Assembly approval is granted, Lexington Council member Julian Beard expects it to easily pass the local governing body as well.