Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Council to Consider Reallocation of Hotel-Motel Tax

Whether we're talking about billions of dollars to Wall Street firms or thousands of dollars to local nonprofits, elected officials should do all they can to make sure that private entities getting tax dollars are either financially sound or have a reasonable plan to become financially sound before the tax dollars sent their way.

Today, Macon City Council will take up a resolution to divide the hotel/motel tax by adding the Georgia Children's Museum and The Tubman Museum as recipients. It's my understanding that support of the Halls of Fame has already been discussed. Currently, the Cherry Blossom Festival is the beneficiary of this tax, and that decision was predicated on the notion that the Festival puts "heads in beds." Those who support spreading the money between various museums believe that it is important that we have a viable museum district, sort of an all boats rise together approach. I agree with that and certainly support the work of all of these groups,but before public money is provided to any of these organizations, it is my hope that Council will examine the relevant financial documents, just as they would if the an organization were coming to council to ask for direct financial support from the City. The item that will come to the floor today is simply a resolution. It is our legislative delegation that would ultimately have to drop a piece of local legislation to allow the change. Given that, there is certainly time to dot the "i's" and cross the "t's" so that tax money, however generated, is spent wisely.

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