City of Clinton

1% Hotel Tax Referendum

1% Hotel Tax Referendum

Synopsis:

On January 29, 2019. Clinton voters will be asked to approve an additional 1% to the City of Clinton’s tourism tax. Currently, Clinton adds 2% to every hotel bill as a tourism tax to promote our City. This generates $200,000 per year.

FIND POLLING LOCATION

On January 29th, the City will open the polls and ask the citizens to pass an additional 1% tax on hotel bills (only) to increase the tourism dollars for promotion of the city by $100,000. To be clear, this increase is paid by those travelers staying in our City hotels - not the citizens of Clinton (unless they are staying in a hotel room).

The need to promote Clinton, from St. Louis to New Orleans/Atlanta to Dallas, is a very important part of our efforts to inform potential visitors and tourists that our community is the place to stop when traveling I-20. Drawing them to Clinton to eat, stay, and shop, enhances our economy and your City leadership is aggressively moving to capture those dollars.

Tourism taxes are common practice and are used throughout the state and country for both hotels and restaurants. When you travel, almost every community adds local taxes to your bill at both restaurants and hotels. The difference is that Clinton does not have an additional tax for restaurants, only hotels.

We hope you see the value of promoting our City to a wider area drawing more visitors to enjoy our Historic On-Line Trail (including historic 20 markers), Library Trail, the activities of Olde Towne, and our City Parks.

Frequently Asked Questions? (FAQ) What does the Tourism Tax Referendum Mean?

  • ADDS ONE PERCENT (1%) TAX OF THE GROSS PROCEEDS OF HOTELS OPERATING WITHIN THE CITY OF CLINTON FOR THE PURPOSE OF REGIONALLY PROMOTING TOURISM TO THE CITY OF CLINTON.

  • WHY CAN'T THE PROCEEDS BE USED FOR INFRASTRUCTURE? ENABLING LEGISLATION PASSED DURING THE 2018 REGULAR LEGISLATIVE SESSION RESTRICTS THE USE OF TOURISM FUNDS RECEIVED IN CLINTON TO PROMOTION OF TOURISM. LANGUAGE IN THE LEGISLATION PREVENTS USE OF TOURISM DOLLARS TO MANAGE INFRASTRUCTURE.

  • WHAT ABOUT CLINTON'S PAVING AND INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS? PRIOR TO THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION IN 2013, PAVING FUNDS HAD BEEN REMOVED FROM THE CITY BUDGET AND A COMPLETE PAVING PROGRAM HAD NOT BEEN FUNDED SINCE THE EARLY 2000'S. OVER THE PAST FIVE (5) YEARS, THE MAYOR AND BOARD HAVE STEADILY INCREASED PAVING FUNDS TO $1.2 MILLION IN 2018. THE 2018 BUDGET PAVED 1/10TH OF CLINTON'S STREETS 174 MILES OF STREETS. ADD IN $1.3 MILLION FROM THE COUNTY FOR ANOTHER 15 MILES OF PAVING, THE CITY PAVED 20% OF STREETS IN 2018. IN SEVEN YEARS ALL STREETS IN CLINTON WILL BE PAVED AND ON A REGULAR PAVING SCHEDULE. DURING THE 2018 SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION, THE LEGISLATURE ALLOCATED $1 MILLION IN ONE TIME DOLLARS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS AND AN ADDITION $645,000 IN ANNUAL MONEY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE. GIVEN THE EXISTING PAVING MONIES AND LEGISLATIVE ALLOCATION, CITY LEADERSHIP IS WORKING TO QUICKLY ALLEVIATE ROAD AND INFRASTRUCTURE ISSUES IN THE CITY.

  • HOW WILL TOURISM SPENDING BENEFIT CLINTON'S RESIDENTS, BUSSINESSES AND INFRASTRUCTURE? SALES TAX AND AD VOLOREM TAXES FUND THE MAJORITY OF THE CITY'S BUDGET. THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO GENERATE REVENUE, INCREASE AD VOLOREM TAXES ON RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES OR GENERATE MORE SALES TAX REVENUE. ADDITIONAL GUESTS TO OUR CITY HELP GENERATE MORE REVENUE FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES, THUS GENERATING MORE SALES TAXES WITHOUT BURDENING THE RESIDENTS OF CLINTON. WE BELIEVE THAT THIS IS A WIN FOR OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND RESIDENTS ALIKE. MORE REVENUE WITH LESS TAX BURDEN. THIS IS WHY WE LEFT RESTAURANTS OUT OF THE TAX. THE CITY DID NOT WANT THE BURDEN PLACED BACK ON THE RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES. 

  • TOURISM TAX IS ONLY PAID BY HOTEL GUESTS. NOT RESIDENTS OF CLINTON AND IS NOT ASSESSED TO RESTAURANTS. WHEN ONE DINES IN PEARL, MADISON, RIDGELAND AND FLOWOOD THEY CURRENTLY PAY ANADDITIONAL 1% TAX (ABOVE THE 7%) ON THEIR MEAL. cLINTON WILL NOT CHARGE THIS 1% AT RESTAURANTS.

  • SIMILAR TAXES IN PEARL, RIDGELAND AND OTHER METRO AREA CITIES ASSESS THIS TAX TO HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS. 

  • CLINTON WILL ONLY ASSESSED TO HOTEL GUESTS.

  • TAX MUST BE APPROVED BY 60% OF THOSE VOTING IN THE SPECIAL ELECTION ON JANUARY 29, 2019.

  • CLICK HERE TO FIND POLLING LOCATION

How will the funds be spent?

All money gained from this additional hotel tax will be applied to advertising Clinton.

Our strategy includes targeting online searchers planning historical visits to Jackson, Vicksburg, or Natchez. Geo-targeted patrons of key historical destinations in the state for awareness and conversion to stay, dine and explore Clinton.

City efforts will be made to leverage the existing audience of active Mississippi history seekers. By targeting online searchers seeking out keywords such as “Mississippi History Museum”, “Clinton Riot”, “Civil Rights Trail” or “Civil War Tours” we will be able to present the historical significance of Clinton to a primed audience. Ads will present Clinton as a central location for historical Mississippi trips.

Due to the costs of traditional media production and placement, digital ads should achieve the most effective and measurable ROI.

Using Google ads and targeted social media advertising, there will be promotion of historical walking tour microsite and Clinton lodging through pay per click ads. Advertising buy will be seasonal based upon historical tourism data, search term relevance, and the geographic location of historical sites.

Additionally, Billboards promoting the City’s hospitality options will be placed along Interstate 20 and I-55 (where on I-55). Currently, three free billboards are promoting the City of Clinton between Monroe and Bolton. Additional boards will enhance the effectiveness of the three free boards currently placed along I-20.

Absentee Ballots:

Absentee ballots for the Hotel Tax Election will be available beginning December 17, 2018. The City Clerk's office, 530 Brighton Park Drive, will be open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday except for January 21, 2019 for Absentee voting. The City clerk’s Office will also be open on Saturday January 19 and Saturday January 26, 2019 from 8:00 am till noon for Absentee voting. All persons wanting to vote by absentee ballot must do so by noon on January 26, 2019.

What is a Tourism Tax?

Clinton Tourism Tax Development Tax is a tax on hotel/motel lodging only (restaurants do not collect this tax). The tourism tax is a local option sales tax that must be approved. The tourist tax was approved by the voters in the September 2002 Primary Election Ballot.

All owners and/or operators of hotels and motels in the City of Clinton must collect the Tourism Tax guests.

Tourist Development Tax strengthens the local economy by creating jobs and enhancing the environment.

Benefits of Tourism?

  • Tourism can help diversify the City of Clinton's economy.
  • Government support is needed for tourism to be successful.
  • Planning and evaluation of tourism is a continuous process undertaken by public and private entities in concert with one another in order to acheive the most beneficial outcome.
  • Tourism may open the door to other economic development activities in the City of Clinton.