By Derrick DePledge
State House negotiators have proposed a new draft of a bill that would lift the annual $93 million cap on the amount of hotel-room tax revenue that goes to the counties, but would phase in the restoration of the counties' share.
The state first imposed the cap in 2011 to help get through the recession. County mayors have warned that without the restoration, counties may be forced to raise taxes to balance county budgets.
The House draft would gradually restore the counties 44.8 percent share of hotel-room tax revenue by July 2017. The state collected about $368 million from the hotel-room tax llast fiscal year.
Here is the split under consideration:
*33 percent in July
*37 percent in July 2015
*41 percent in July 2016
*44.8 percent in July 2017
House and Senate negotiators will meet again on Friday morning. Lawmakers have until midnight Friday to finish work on bills so final votes can take place next week before session adjourns.
Mayors who were making the rounds at the state Capitol on Wednesday were optimistic that counties would see more hotel-room tax revenue.