Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle vetoes lodging tax increase approved by city council

Huntsville City Council voted in favor of the one percent increase to the lodging tax for hotel rooms and Airbnbs.

Posted: Mar 13, 2020 10:37 AM
Updated: Mar 13, 2020 11:45 AM

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle has vetoed a lodging tax increase approved by the city council Thursday night.

Huntsville City Council voted in favor of the one percent increase to the lodging tax for hotel rooms and Airbnbs. The move passed by a three to two vote.

Currently, the lodging tax is 15 percent in Huntsville.

The city of Huntsville released this statement about the veto Friday morning:

Mayor Tommy Battle informed City Council this morning that he vetoed the 1 percent lodging tax Council approved 3-2 Thursday night to fund the City’s new amphitheater at MidCity District.

In a message to Council, Mayor Battle outlined his reasons as follows:

  1. The City of Huntsville has a solid financial model to pay for the amphitheater as presented when the architectural contract was approved.
  2. This lodging tax increase puts the City of Huntsville at a disadvantage in competing for travel, tourism and conventions.
  3. The tax is not needed- we have a balanced budget.
  4. Hitting the hotel/motel industry with an additional tax amid the COVID-19 virus exacerbates the financial burden on the hospitality Industry, a critical sector of our economy.
  5. There is no plan for additional funding. All projects in the Capital Improvements Plan have been identified and budgeted.

“We all have the same desire -- to do what is best for our community,” said Mayor Battle. “Passing a tax just to have future dollars to spend without designation is not right. The people who earn the tax dollars that are paid to the City of Huntsville work very hard, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. They trust us to spend their resources conservatively.”

The Mayor expressed his gratitude to Council for their work and concluded his message by saying, “We all have the same goals, just different ways of achieving them.”

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