LG LANDRIEU: REVENUE TO BE RESTORED FOR LOCAL TOURISM ENTITIES, LEGISLATION TO REPEAL "30 DAY RULE" -- 11/22/2005
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 22, 2005
LG LANDRIEU: REVENUE TO BE RESTORED FOR LOCAL TOURISM ENTITIES, LEGISLATION TO REPEAL "30 DAY RULE"
Long-Term Guests To Pay Local Hotel Taxes, $80 - $100 Million Economic Impact for the Entire Fiscal Year
Baton Rouge, La - The Louisiana State Legislature passed legislation (HB 115, SB 102) to repeal the "thirty-day rule," which exempts guests staying in a hotel for thirty days or more from paying the local hotel occupancy tax. The legislation is now awaiting Governor Kathleen Blanco's signature.
"Many of our local partners - from the Acadia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau to the Tourist Commission of West Feliciana Parish - have been starved of their usual revenue from local hotel taxes," said Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. "As we work to rebuild the tourism industry, an integral part of our strategy is to provide local entities with the tools they need to help rebuild their own economies."
"We are determined to deliver a positive economic impact for the state, and this legislation with companion rule changes will generate an estimated $80 million to $100 million this fiscal year," said Angele Davis, Secretary of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.
"This is good news for local convention and visitors bureaus because they rely on the hotel-motel occupancy taxes for their budgets," said Sherry Smith, director of the Alexandria/Pineville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. "In our case, the tax that is collected is how we are funded, so it's extremely important to us."
Tourism is a key component of our state's economy. Prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the tourism industry employed more than 126,000 Louisianans and generated $9.9 billion in visitor spending. Without visitors, the Lake Charles region loses an average of $1.5 million per day in direct tourism income. Without visitors, the New Orleans region loses an average of $15.2 million per day in direct tourism income. Louisiana will likely lose more than $1 billion in direct tourism revenue by the end of 2005.
Landrieu added, "I would like to thank Senator Cleo Fields (D-Baton Rouge) and Representative Ernest Baylor (D-Shreveport) for sponsoring this legislation and for their leadership on this important issue. Senator Fields and Representative Baylor understand that the tourism means jobs for our citizens."
In support of this measure were the major trade associations of the state's tourism industry, including the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association, the Louisiana Hotel and Lodging Association, and the Louisiana Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.
Guided by the strategic Louisiana Rebirth plan, the Office of the Lt. Governor and the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism have worked to generate revenue for the state and to recover the state's tourism industry. The repeal of the "thirty day rule" is the latest step in the effort to the rebuild of the state's second largest industry. Landrieu pressured FEMA to change their hotel tax policy for Federal employees in Louisiana. As a result of those negotiations, FEMA now pays the state and local hotel tax on an estimated 12,000-15,000 hotel rooms in the state (effective October 21, 2005). This generates an estimated $1.2 million - $1.5 million a week. In addition, after extensive discussions with FEMA, the agency has advised that Corporate Lodging Consultants is not tax exempt and is required to pay occupancy and all other associated taxes for those hotel/motel rooms that CLC administers payment for, including housing of displaced citizens (effective November 11, 2005). This clarification from FEMA will generate investments of approximately $4.5 million per month in important local and state tourism and economic development programs.