Tourism tax revenues increase again|[4/29/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

Revenue from tourism-related taxes continued upward for the second month of 2005, but not as much as January’s 45 percent increase over the 2004 number.

The Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau received a $68,743 check this month for the 1 percent hotel and restaurant tax based on sales recorded in February. That amount is up 5.6 percent over last year.

VCVB board members had been worried that after last month’s $88,966 check from the state Tax Commission the following months would be less. Board chairman Curt Follmer said the sharp increase is still a mystery, but that they are pleased with the continued growth.

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“It’s an excellent trend and I hope it continues,” Follmer said.

The VCVB generates most of its funding from the tax that last year generated about $814,451. That was up about $56,316 from 2003. In turn, the money is spent on staffing and operating a welcome center, advertising the city and preparing and distributing guidebooks and brochures.

Businesses required to collect the added tax send the money to the Tax Commission along with general sales tax collections. State officials perform the calculations and send a rebate the following month.

So far this year, the VCVB is showing a 14 percent increase over last year.

For the same month, the City of Vicksburg showed a 4.5 percent increase in sales tax collection over last year. Collections for the month went from $546,053 to $570,857.

The VCVB is without an executive director following the death of Emy Wilkinson on April 5. Board members held a closed session at the start of Thursday’s meeting, but disclosed no action.