The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 12, 2013

Removal of the hotel tax exemption will be good for the city’s tourism business

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — We’re glad to see Enid City Commission change a rule that has cost the city more than $1 million since 2011.

Last week, commissioners voted to do away with an exemption that allowed long-term hotel residents to not pay the 8 percent hotel tax. In the 2012-13 fiscal year, that exemption cost the city $553,600.

Enid’s hotels have been enjoying quite high occupancy rates the past few years, in large part because of the number of workers who’ve come to the area because of the energy boom.

The hotel tax is used to boost the city’s tourism.

Through an agreement with the city, Chisholm Trail Expo Center gets 3 percent of the revenue generated from the tax. Last year, the long-term exemption cost the facility $16,600. That’s money Expo Center officials could use for operations or to market the facility and help bring events to town.

The rest of the tax money goes to fund Enid Event Center, Convention Hall and Cherokee Strip Conference Center. The added revenue will help those facilities bring more events downtown.

While we can sympathize with those who have enjoyed the exemption up to this point, we like the idea of removing the exemption.

The added revenue for the city and Expo Center will help bring events and people to town.

That means more money for the city and the county in terms of sales tax revenues.

It means more money for businesses, which will benefit from people coming here and shopping and eating.

Getting rid of the exemption was the right move.