Community leaders are asking the Missouri legislature to allow local control over the tax rate charged to guests staying at Springfield hotels.

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 and Kansas City.

If HB 1700 and a duplicate bill filed in the Senate, SB  770, are approved, the city's lodging tax will not increase; they 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.

HB1700, introduced by Rep. Craig Fishel, passed unanimously in the Local Government and Rules committees in the House and is expected to be placed on the House calendar for a vote soon.

No action has been taken on SB770, introduced by Sen. Lincoln Hough.