Legislators debate hotel-motel tax

CLINTON - Area legislators are looking for a solution to the hotel-motel tax.

Iowa Senate District 49 Representative Chris Cournoyer said Monday that she spoke to the chair of the Ways and Means Committee about the hotel-motel tax, expressing belief they will get something done on the issue. Cournoyer referenced Clinton County's recommendation to tax up to 90 days.

"With that discussion we'd have to define what's a hotel-motel versus a short term rental," Cournoyer said. "You know, make that clear. And then if there's exceptions for people maybe staying at the university hospital hotels or something like that."

Iowa House District 98 Rep. Mary Wolfe said the hotel-motel tax was implemented to offer an incentive to get developers to build residential inn facilities in Polk County. She said the idea behind offering the incentive was to allow them to market the facility as if they stay more than 31 days they do not have to pay. She added it is a big savings for corporations needing to put people in hotels and motels for three or six months.

"It doesn't make sense anymore," Wolfe said. "It was a deal 20 years ago or whenever that went into place. That's fine. It served its purpose. Those places are built. It's in no way now being unfair to anyone to say.. now we're just going to levy its equity, fairness. Just get rid of it.... And then put those exceptions in for hospital stays or even lower income."