Columbia City Council Inches Closer to Airport Expansion
COLUMBIA - Columbia City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to move forward with the proposed "Bed Tax" which would increase the tax hotel and motel visitors pay from four percent to seven percent. The Bed Tax would fund a new terminal expansion at Columbia Regional Airport.
However, the council did not vote to send the Bed Tax to public vote. Instead, the council sent the proposed tax to Jefferson City, where the State Legislature will examine the city's ability to make that decision.
First Ward Councilman Fred Schmidt mentioned he recently spoke with a "distraught" hotel owner contacted him, who feared the tax could hurt his business. One general manager of a local hotel spoke with KOMU 8 after the meeting, saying he thinks the tax will make Columbia less competitive at drawing visitors to Mid-Missouri. Schmidt said before any major decision is reached, there will be ample time for public comment.
The proposed tax increase could create an additional $1.4 million in yearly revenue. The council expects the proposed airport expansion would cost around $17 million.
The council hopes the State Legislature will address the Bed Tax during this upcoming legislative session.