Raising Metro’s hotel-motel tax affects more than tourists

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Councilmember Erin Evans is concerned that imposing a higher hotel-motel tax in Nashville to help pay for a new Titans stadium could actually adversely affect some locals.

Last week, state lawmakers suggested Nashville increase the local occupancy tax by 1% to help finance a possible $2 billion football stadium for the Tennessee Titans.

“It’s a solution that seems like an easy one, but like all easy solutions there are unintended consequences,” said Erin Evans, Metro Councilmember for District 12.

Evans is worried about the extra money people living temporarily in hotels will have to shell out.

“That’s money that they’re not spending on their children, or money they’re not spending on feeding themselves, or transportation costs. A lot of folks, at least out here, who are using hotels for housing do not have transportation.”

The current hotel-motel tax in Nashville is 6%. Evans says there are people in her community in Hermitage who are living for weeks at a time in motel rooms. Unless they stay in the same place for a month, according to state law, they have to pay the set hotel-motel tax.

“So you can be a Davidson County resident, have a child in Metro Nashville Public Schools and be impacted by that increase,” Evans said.

Evans wants the local occupancy tax to stay the same for locals who may be in a motel to avoid living on the streets.

“One percent is not that much money, but it’s kind of the compounding of the other issues that come into play and just where Nashville is from a housing perspective,” she said.

Two Nashville democrats are sponsoring the proposal at the state level. SB0421 is set to be discussed on Tuesday by the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee.