HB 1700, sponsored by Rep. Craig Fishel, was approved 119-33 in the House last week and sent to the Senate. This bill would allow Springfield voters to consider an increase to our hotel/motel tax to fund tourism efforts.

Sen. Lincoln Hough is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill, SB 770, which was referred to committee on Feb. 13.

State law currently caps lodging tax collections at 5 percent, but lawmakers can make exceptions allowing local voters to decide if a higher amount can be collected. Exceptions have been made for other cities, including St. Louis, Kansas City and Jefferson City.

If approved, the city’s lodging tax will not increase; the bills simply allow the option of asking local voters if they want to increase the tax to pay for capital improvement projects, such as a convention center and/or sports facility to increase tourism in Springfield.