Lodging tax increase on Feb. ballot

With a vote by residents here whether to increase the city’s lodging tax four cents for every dollar spent at local hotels less than a month away, one side of the issue is beginning to build up some steam.

A preliminary list of individuals on the Lodging Tax Promotion Committee has been released, and more than 15 residents have announced that they will help lead the charge for the tax increase.

Heading up the committee is Curtis Chick, who has been involved with the steering committee for the conference center that will be built with the money from the tax if it is passed.

Chick said that while he is excited for the economic stimulation that he anticipates will come with the conference center, there are other reasons that made joining the committee an easy choice for him.

“It’s part of a bigger picture to help Jeff City grow,” Chick said.

Another member of the committee is Sam Bushman. While Bushman was not involved in the steering committee like Chick, he said that as one of the more well-established businessmen in Jefferson City, it made sense.

Bushman said it was that business sense that made him think getting behind the lodging tax, and thus, the conference center, a good idea.

“We (at Samuel’s Tuxedo’s) work with our hotels very closely,” Bushman said.

“We have out-of-town weddings. When they come in town, they will stay at one of our local hotels and we go pick up the tuxes then when they check out. So we know our hotel people.

“We are part of the business community. They are part of the business community. Jeff City is a small town, so we know all of these (hotel owners).”

Both men said they think the lodging tax is something that Jefferson City residents will not have a hard time getting behind.

“If I go to the Lake of the Ozarks or St. Louis or Kansas City, I have to pay a lodging tax,” Chick said. “It is kind of a no-brainer. The taxpayer doesn’t have to come up with the money.”

“I don’t know why they wouldn’t,” Bushman said. “It’s people who come in and stay in our hotels are going to have to pay some additional tax.

“It’s kind of expected,” Bushman added.

The other members of the group include Curtis Creagh, Steve Duncan, Phil Freeman, Ryan Freeman, Dick Groner, Chris Hackman, Bobbie Herman, Larry

Kolb, Clyde Lear, Sharon Naught, Trey Propes, Joe Scheppers, Duane Schreimann, Kent Trimble and Kyle Trimble.

Jefferson City voters will have the opportunity to make the decision on the tax increase at the Feb. 8 election.

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