The tourism tax on a hotel room in Tooele County may increase to 4.25%.
The Tooele County Commission considered an increase from 3.5% to 4.25% for the transient room tax, the maximum rate allowed by state law, during its Tuesday night meeting at the County Administration Building.
The transient room tax goes into the County’s tourism tax fund. It can only be used for tourism related activities, according to state law.
The transient room tax is one of two taxes that generate revenue for County tourism. The other is a 1% tax on restaurant food, above and beyond the regular sales tax.
“It has long been known that there is extra capacity in the restaurant tax,” said Tooele County Commissioner Shawn Milne. “But county commissions have been apprehensive to raise the restaurant tax because most of us locals visit restaurants and we don’t want to raise the tax on us.”
Milne said the increase in the transient room tax has been run by local hoteliers and the Tourism Tax Advisory Board.
“None of them balked,” he said.
At the end of 2018 the Tourism Tax Fund had a balance of $2.3 million. The county collected $476,566 in transient room taxes in 2019, according to the State Tax Commission.
The County also expected to collect $590,000 in restaurant tax for the tourism fund in 2019, according to the 2019 budget.
The County Commission allocated $100,000 from the tourism fund in 2016 to State Street Partners for an inventory of county tourism assets and a new county brand. It also allocated $450,000 to State Street Partners in 2018 for a tourism marketing campaign.
In 2018 the County Commission also agreed to allocate $1.7 million of tourism funds to Country Fan Fest over a four-year period.
About $225,000 is budgeted to be transferred from the tourism fund to the Deseret Peak Fund to help pay for bonds for Deseret Peak Complex, including the building of the convention center addition to the indoor arena.
Tuesday night’s County Commission meeting was the first reading of the resolution to increase the transient room tax. It will vote on the increase at a subsequent meeting, according to Tooele County Commission chairman Tom Tripp.