Hotels support smaller tax increase for airport improvements

Apr 17, 2012

The head of a Columbia Chamber of Commerce task force trying to find ways to improve air travel in Mid-Missouri says it will consider a smaller hotel tax increase, now that a larger one has appeared to stall. Greg Steinhoff says hotel owners in Columbia weren’t thrilled with the idea of a 3 percent increase to the hotel tax, with the proceeds to be used for airport upgrades. But now that an organization representing those owners has said it would support a 1 percent hotel tax increase, Steinhoff says his task force will try to figure out how far that money would go.

“We appreciate that," Steinhoff said. "Honestly we have a committee right now of people looking at what types of improvements need to be made, are necessary at the airport right now. Putting a number to that, and then we’ll try to add up all the revenue sources to make it work.”

Steinhoff says the aim is to make improvements that might help secure more flights connecting Columbia Regional Airport to major hubs, on the heels of an announcement of a new flight to Atlanta. The hotel tax is currently 4 percent in Columbia, and the increase of 1 percent would require approval by Columbia voters. Steinhoff says if the task force decides to pursue the increase, he would like to see it on this November’s ballot. The previous proposed increase to 7 percent would have required special approval from the state legislature, but that measure has not gained traction in Jefferson City.