Occupancy tax bill must move forward this year

Aim for consensus, not unanimity
Mar 26, 2013

Proposed state legislation to increase the occupancy tax in Haywood County so it is comparable to that of many other counties in the region is a good idea and a necessary one.

A handful of naysayers have voiced opposition to the measure. While their numbers are few and their logic is flawed, they seem to have gained traction with Sen. Jim Davis, who has backed away from the bill until broader agreement is reached.

We understand a proposed revision is in the works that should put the legislation back on track. The bill needs to pass sooner, not later, and we hope the changes will allow that to happen.

Finding a way to complete capital projects in the county to enhance tourism is vital. Other counties have already earmarked funds to accomplish this. If Haywood doesn’t match the pace, it stands to lose tourism revenue as visitors go elsewhere, thus revving up their economy, not ours.

Once elected leaders throughout the county submit the final language for the bill, we certainly hope Sen. Davis will listen to the majority who understand the needs and have a vision to address them.

There will never be unanimity, and we hope that isn’t the standard Sen. Davis has set as his condition for support.

Tourism is a vital industry in Haywood, and many people already travel here to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Finding ways to encourage more visitors and to provide more things to do for those who already visit here will help many economic sectors in the county, from the retail business owners to those looking for an ideal place to relocate.

An investment in the tourist industry and the increased occupancy tax will help make that possible.

We hope those with a vision for the future can remain in the driver’s seat on this issue.

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