The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 30, 2013

Transient tax will help tourism

NORMAN — Norman voters have an opportunity to help tourism, city parks and the arts Tuesday. A 25 percent increase, from 4 to 5 percent, in the city’s transient guest tax will be on the ballot.

Transient or room taxes are popular among voters. Voters who approve them don’t usually rent one of the city’s 2,800 hotel rooms and pay the tax. If approved, it will raise an estimated $284,000 in additional money in the next fiscal year.

That money is split with a quarter of it diverted to the arts and a quarter to parks maintenance projects. The remaining half makes up the lion’s share of the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau budget.

That agency is charged with bringing visitors to Norman year-round. Those visitors fill hotel rooms but they also shop, eat and patronize local attractions and festivals.

We believe voters should say yes to the increase. The rate has not been raised since the tax was implemented 30 years ago. Hotels and motels are supporting the increase as the money will help fill beds throughout the year.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Early, in-person absentee voting, is available on Monday at the Election Board office on East Robinson. Results will be available after the polls close at www.normantranscript.com.

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