Voters will decide whether nonprofits should pay hotel tax

Tourists and convention visitors checking into Kansas City hotels pay a 7.5 percent tax that is the only source of funding for the Neighborhood Tourism Development Fund. The city is proposing to tax nonprofit as well as for profit travelers in order to increase funding available for local festivals and improvements to convention facilities.

The city council on Thursday approved an April 2 vote that could make non-profit groups and state governmental agencies pay the city’s convention and tourism tax.

The city is the only one in the state that exempts those groups from its tax on non-resident hotel and motel guests.

City officials lobbied for a state law change last year that allows the city vote, which would not otherwise change the 7.5 percent Kansas City tax on sleeping rooms.

Exempting such groups that arrived for conventions cost the city more than $9.9 million from 2007 to 2011, officials reported. The money is a major source of funding for city convention and entertainment facilities and its convention and visitors association.

It is the only source of funding for the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund, which is used to help pay for things like the Irish Festival, 18th and Vine events and other neighborhood festivals.

If voters approve, the city facilities and neighborhood events would get more money and non-profit groups and governmental groups would pay more.

Among those who would lose the breaks: religious and charitable groups, schools operated at public expense, private non-profit schools, colleges supported by public funds and Missouri state agencies and political subdivisions.

Federal government groups, however, would still be exempt from the tax. The Missouri constitution and federal law protects their exemption.


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