If the hotel bed tax in Juneau ends up rising, it will only be temporary.
The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Finance Committee voted Wednesday night to limit a proposed increase to the hotel bed tax to four years.
The ordinance in question would raise the tax that visitors pay for a room rental in Juneau from 7 to 9 percent. In addition to a 5 percent sales tax, that would raise a total room tax rate from 12 percent to 14 percent. The increase would earn an additional revenue of $400,000 per year, and over a four-year period, it would raise $1.6 million.
The ordinance, which could be on the ballot for the Oct. 3 election, would dictate that the $1.6 million would then go to the construction of the new Juneau Arts and Culture Center (JACC). According to the JACC’s website, the fundraising goal is $26 million, and the organization has raised 16 percent of that, just under $4.2 million.
Now that the ordinance has gone to the Finance Committee, it will go to the full Assembly on Aug. 21. The Assembly will cast a final vote in that meeting on whether to put the ordinance on the ballot, and the meeting will be open for public comment. The Assembly will also vote on whether to put an extension of the 1 percent sales tax increase on the ballot.
Prior to Wednesday night’s meeting, the language of the ordinance said the tax increase would be “of a general and permanent nature.” Now, the tax increase would be limited to a four-year period. At the end of that period, the Assembly would vote on whether to include it on the ballot that year, and then the public would vote on it.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org.