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Tennessee Legislature approves Davidson County hotel tax to help pay for a new Titans stadium

A bill that would allow Metro Nashville to raise its hotel tax by 1 percentage point to help fund a new Tennessee Titans stadium passed both the Tennessee House and Senate on Wednesday and will move to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for approval.

A fiscal note on House Bill 681 said that it could amount to a $10 million hotel sales tax increase annually in Davidson County. This revenue would be used to pay off bonds that Metro Nashville will take out to fund a portion of its roughly $700 million share of a new covered stadium next to the current Nissan Stadium.

House bill sponsor Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, said that bill was brought to him by the Nashville Hotel Motel Association. He also noted that a state bill last year allowed hotels in different regions of the state to charge up to an 8% in hotel tax but excluded metropolitan areas.

“There is an incredible amount of fiscal advantage,” Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain, said about using state funds for a new stadium. “We are looking at the next Broadway.”

The House passed the bill 62-26 and the Senate then passed it 20-2.

Rep. Chris Todd, R-Madison County, said that representatives throughout the state would have lied to constituents if they said they wouldn’t raise taxes and then voted for the hotel tax.

“(Beck)’s not raising taxes on his constituents,” Todd said. “He’s raising them on ours.”

Todd said that Tennesseans from across the state need to come to the capital city and stay for events and they will all be charged a tax for the stadium.

Todd also said that the data lawmakers were provided on the stadium and its potential impact was “greatly overinflated.”

“They may be, at best, 10 percent accurate,” Todd said of the numbers.

He specifically cited Super Bowl figures that calculated the economic impact of the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami at $571 million, yet there was only $34 million in additional state tax revenue from the game.

The hotel tax is just a small portion of the public funding for what is estimated to be a $1.9 billion to $2.2 billion stadium. Lawmakers have committed $500 million in direct state funds and approved the hotel tax possibly being part of $700 million in Metro Nashville funding that is still being negotiated. The ownership of the Titans will add $700 million.

Last year, state and Metro Nashville officials also approved a 5.5% sales tax at the stadium on purchases to remain in a Metro Nashville Sports Authority account for the stadium along with half of the 5.5% sales tax from any development on the 130 acres of land adjacent to the stadium.

The Titans are planning to build a $4 billion to $6 billion mixed-use development along the river next to the stadium on that property over the next 10-15 years.

This article was originally posted on Tennessee Legislature approves Davidson County hotel tax to help pay for a new Titans stadium

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