View Full Version : Hotel tax to benefit Parks?

07-21-2004, 01:19 AM
Check out Jerry Foshee's views on this. What do you think?
I'm not sure I support his plan! Maybe parks should be incorporated under MAPS III. Why should people staying in hotels from out of town have to pay for something us locals use? Just my opinion! What do you think?

Foshee proposes even larger raise in city hotel tax
by Darren Currin
The Journal Record

With discussions under way regarding raising Oklahoma City's hotel/motel tax by 3.5 percent, one city councilman is asking that the tax be raised an additional 0.2 percent to aid in supporting the maintenance of several city parks and swimming pools.
Ward 5 Councilman Jerry Foshee said during Tuesday's meeting of the City Council that because several swimming pools could not be opened this summer due to a lack of city funds, the additional money could provide around $240,000 a year for city parks and pools.

"I always stand up for the children and I intend to stand up for them again," he said.

City officials have been working with the Oklahoma Convention and Visitors Bureau on a proposal that would increase the tax from 2 percent to 5.7 percent. Under the proposal, 3 percent of the increased tax would be designated toward capital improvements of horse show facilities at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds while the remaining 0.5 percent would be used by the bureau for promotion and marketing of Oklahoma City to attract events.

The current hotel/motel tax has stood at 2 percent for more than 30 years.

Representatives from the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce pledged their support of the proposed 3.5 percent increase, saying that improvements to the fairgrounds' horse facilities would add to the more than $100 million the horse shows generate to the metro area.

"It is vital that we maintain our competitive position with this market," said Roy Williams, chamber president. "Each year, 250,000 people visit our city in connection with these events. This city and this chamber have worked hard over the past 20 years to make this the destination of choice for horse show enthusiasts and we cannot risk losing these events to other cities."

Burns Hargis, who was representing the chamber during the meeting, said that the local hotel/motel industry would be opposed to raising the tax any more than the proposed 3.5 percent.

"The hotel/motel people believe that for competitive reasons this is the maximum that they can add to hotel bills," explained Hargis.

Foshee also noted that the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce was in favor of his position of adding an additional 0.2 percent to the tax and said that improving city parks would also aid in stimulating economic development.

"In terms of an economic development tool, seeing a pool out of service in a neighborhood is blight in the community and can be an aversion to economic development," noted Foshee.

The Oklahoma City Council will vote on the proposed tax increase in the next few weeks. Final approval would come by a vote of Oklahoma City residents in a special election that would be held later this year.

07-21-2004, 06:36 AM
On occasion, tourists DO use parks. However, Jerry Foshee, as usual, is totally off base.

That increase should be souly dedicated to upgrading the aging fairgrounds. Maybe if the state fair went from the number two or three spot in the country down to our usual (for most things like education) number 48 out of 50, then maybe he would wake up... I doubt it. Our fair use to be the second largest by attendance in the country. I think it has gone down. It could be number one with improvements plus the same run time as Texas. :mad:

07-21-2004, 10:37 AM
Not sure if having the same run time as Texas would be beneficial.....look at what happened when our fair had the same run time as Tulsa's....we weren't getting as many vendors and attractions because several of them were opting to go to Tulsa instead. If we have our own unique time, we don't have to compete for vendors. That's why I supported shortening our fair, or at least moving it a week earlier.

This tax will focus on only livestock facilities. The city is trying to keep us from losing major horse shows. But, that still doesn't fix up the rest of the fair grounds. That's where MAPS III is going to have to come in. Estimates have shown that $300 to $400 million is needed to completely revitalize state fair park. The hotel tax would only raise about $100 million, just enough to take care of livestock upgrades and expansion.

Many of the other buildings need upgrading. The attractions need upgrading. All Sports Stadium needs to be demolished. The south field needs to be paved with nicely landscaped and lit parking areas.

Take a look at the Fair Grounds from I-44 sometime. The grounds don't look very attractive to me. The fair needs a major overhaul.

By all means, for the event itself, we need to get rid of everything former Fair Director, Skip Wagner came up with. That corny "Love a Fair" needs go and we need to change it back to Great State Fair of Oklahoma instead of Oklahoma State Fair! I miss the way things were before Skip came in and screwed it all up.

07-21-2004, 10:54 AM
Run time is number of days. Being 14. Or even more. Not the same dates.

Yes. Same dates would be counter-productive. Number of days would increase attendance... Along with retooling the fair to get away from the same thing year after year, and remodeling the grounds :D . Instead of a "fair," it would be a "great."

07-21-2004, 11:29 AM
Yeah, I think you're right Mr. Anderson! I agreed that the fair needed to be moved a week earlier to avoid competing with Tulsa's fair for events, but I didn't like the idea of shortening the air to 11 days. That does cut down on attendance. We need to lengthen the fair back to 18 days and just start it a week earlier. That would solve the whole problem.

Regardless, we need to reverese everything Skip Wagner did when he was here. He wrecked our state fair!