Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No plans to raise Pinellas bed tax any time soon

CLEARWATER — By bringing in more than $30 million last year in bed taxes, Pinellas County earned the right to raise that tax from 5 percent to 6 percent.

But don't look for that to happen any time soon.

The Pinellas County and Tourist Development commissions — which jointly oversee the tax on hotel and motel stays — squelched any talk Tuesday of raising the levy now.

TDC commissioner Tony Satterfield, a St. Pete Beach hotel executive, noted that Pinellas County will vote this year on a tax hike to pay for light rail and expanded bus service. That would boost an existing 7 percent sales tax to 8 percent. That, plus a 6 percent bed tax, would give Pinellas hotels one of the highest tax burdens in the state.

"New York City kept adding and adding and adding (to hotel taxes) until all of a sudden they were losing conventions,'' Satterfield said. "We could wake up and suddenly have gone from 12 to 14" percent if the bed tax and sales tax both go up a percent.

County Commissioner Karen Seel noted that the group already is trying to figure out how to dole out about $6 million in annual bed tax revenue that will become available in 2015 when the main bonds on Tropicana Field expire.

"I would be hard-pressed to put a 6 percent in place when we are having trouble deciding what to do with the $6 million,'' Seel said.

Several competing interests already hope to float long-term construction bonds by using some of the Trop money as backing, including the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the city of Dunedin, which wants spring training upgrades for the Toronto Blue Jays, and Oldsmar, which wants to build an Olympic BMX track.

The bed tax commissioners took no formal vote but agreed to work toward a tentative plan that would set aside about $4.5 million a year for new capital projects from the Trop money. That would save about $1.5 million for tourist marketing and reserves.

Potential projects — including any new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays — would have to compete for funding, using a scoring system yet to be determined.

Oldsmar had planned to request $1.1 million for its BMX project at Tuesday's meeting but the discussion was tabled until the Florida Legislature votes on bills that might help fund the project.

Times staff writer Piper Castillo contributed to this report.

No plans to raise Pinellas bed tax any time soon 04/01/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 9:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter


    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.