Metro Council to add downtown tax to help lure big conventions - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Metro Council to add downtown tax to help lure big conventions

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The next time you spend money in downtown Nashville, there could be a little more money tacked onto your tab.

Metro Council has approved a new tax designed to bring big-time conventions that fill rooms in at least three hotels, and a lot of people aren't happy about it.

The one-quarter cent tax would apply to everything from parking to alcohol to cowboy boots and souvenirs purchased in the downtown district near Lower Broadway.

"We've had it with taxes. I'm not going to stand and vote for any more taxes in this city," said Metro Councilman Robert Duvall.

Duvall is quick to point out the tax will add up to about $1 million a year.

Metro Council approved the tax in a 32-4 vote at its meeting Tuesday.

Advocates say the revenue would be used to help lure big conventions to places like the brand new Music City Center, and, in turn, generate even more tourism dollars for the city.

But Duvall said it won't be just tourists who pay up.

"There's just way too many people who live down here now. There's too many people down here all the time for Predators games and Ryman Auditorium events. These are Nashvillians that are going to spend this money," Duvall said.

Greg Adkins, who represents downtown bars and restaurants, say the establishments actually support this fee because they know they will potentially get thousands of new customers.

"If you bring new people to Nashville, they're going to buy more hot dogs. They're going to buy more Pepsis. They're going to buy more Cokes. And they're going to buy more beers. They're going to buy more CDs," said Adkins, of the Tennessee Hospitality Association. "What that does, is it lifts the entire sales tax pool up."

Adkins said that is simply the way the business works and would allow the city to tell convention groups that if they spend, say, $1 million they could get, say, $50,000 back as an incentive to come to Nashville.

Still, some are simply opposed to a tax that is limited to a select area.

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