GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A bill working its way through the legislature could help pay for the Grand Rapids amphitheater by passing a hotel tax. The act is supported by the city and several organizations invested in developing Grand Rapids tourism industry.
Under Bill 5048 an excise or hotel tax of 2% exclusive to Kent County would not only help pay for the amphitheater legislators say, but will help pay for the soccer stadium and more if approved, according to the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s basically a user fee. When someone is visiting from outside of the town, or the region they will pay a per night per room tax,” said Joshua Lunger, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce vice president of government affairs.
Lunger said if approved, the bill and hotel tax will be transformative for Grand Rapids’ West and Southwest side.
“The private investment that is going to come alongside it is going to mean thousands of housing units, which is going to mean new bars and restaurants. It’s going to be incredible,” Lunger said.
Under Bill 5048, the 2% hotel tax will apply to cities and townships within Kent County. If approved, it will help fund the amphitheater and soccer stadium.
“It would be used to support and back up the bonds that will be issued in order to get the projects off the ground sooner,” Lunger said.
“We expanded that to include aquariums and also sports complexes because we recognize that tourism has changed from the time this act was implemented,” said State Representative John Fitzgerald.
On Tuesday, the bill passed the Michigan House co-sponsored by State Rep. John Fitzgerald (D-Wyoming).
“I supported this legislation recognizing that local governments do have a position to play and throughout the state supporting the tourism that is going to be kind of derived from these impactful projects,” Fitzgerald said.
It would give city governments inside Kent County of a certain size the option to levy a 2% hotel tax.
“When you are managing the interest of a number of communities throughout the state, there is always going to be concern that other communities may want to leverage this or implement this tax, but at the end of the day I do think this has a good chance of coming through the Senate, coming back to the city of Grand Rapids and Kent County and others and eventually meeting at the ballot box,” said Fitzgerald.
The legislation’s next step will be approval by the Senate. If no changes are made, then it’s sent to the governor.
Local boards would have to put it on their ballots for residents to have the final vote.