Room Tax Technical Clarification Bill Advances

Assembly Bill 714/Senate Bill 578 authored by Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah) and Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton) clarifies the definition of tourism entities that collect room tax.

The legislation adjusts the creation date of an existing tourism entity to help those created after 1992 but before January 1, 2016. It changes a provision that requires all tourism entities to have 51 percent of their overall revenues spent on tourism promotion and tourism development. It also removes the requirement that a tourism entity must exist in the municipality for which they provide destination marketing and services. In addition, the bill modifies a provision that requires one lodging owner or operator per municipality to sit on the entity’s governing body to a minimum of four owners or operators.

Supporters of the bill say the technical changes are needed due to compliance concerns from the room tax changes in the budget (2015 Wisconsin Act 21).

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism recommended the legislation unanimously. The Assembly passed AB 714 via a voice vote this week.