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Douglas awaits approval of hotel-motel tax bill
by Bill Baldowski
January 31, 2014 12:05 PM | 1077 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Legislation to increase the tax on overnight stays at hotels and motels in unincorporated Douglas County to match that now charged in Douglasville is coming back to the state Legislature.

Douglas County Commission Chairman Tom Worthan said the bill to increase the tax from 5 to 8 percent is “in the hopper for this session” and District 35 state Sen. Donzella James, D-College Park, now supports the legislation after attaching an amendment.

Her amendment would exempt those who stay overnight in area hotels and motels from paying the additional 3 percent sales tax if they produce identification stating they are Douglas County residents.

“This hotel-motel tax is one that would be paid by visitors coming into our county from outside Douglas County,” Worthan said. “We feel those people who would come in from outside the county and use our services need to pay something for those services.”

County officials have said they wanted the extra funding to help hire a person to staff the county’s history museum and help promote area attractions.

The Neighbor reported last year that James withheld support for the plan last year after Worthan objected to increasing Democratic membership on the board of elections.

Douglasville used funds from the extra 3 percent sales tax it passed to build the Douglasville Conference Center.

James, who said she has always opposed increasing taxes of any type, said she would file the bill with her amendment.

“I am leaning toward signing this piece of legislation now,” James said.

She said the bill would be good for the county.

“I just want to make sure that our hotel and motel owners approve of this as well,” James said.

Worthan said he had no problem with James’ amendment.

“I hope residents showing proof of residency at check-in don’t become a nightmare for the hotel/motel owners,” he said.
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