Local beach cities hope to request tourism tax dollars as part of new bill signed into law

Posted at 5:53 PM, Apr 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-11 18:28:17-04

Beginning summer 2018, tourist towns and cities across Florida will be able to request tourism tax dollars as part of the governor's tax bill recently signed. 

With an influx of tourists to Florida, it means more people have to use roads to get to places like our beaches.

A portion of the tax bill will allow local governments to request tourism dollars to fix infrastructure needs like roads, sidewalks, boardwalks and even bike paths.

For those who are looking forward to the new provisions come July first, they hope it will alleviate using taxpayer money on things.

St. Pete Beach Mayor Alan Johnson explains there are 10,000 residents in the small beach city, but with snowbirds and tourists at any given time they can have to accommodate up to 50,000 people. 

Come July, he will be able to go to the Tourist Development Council of Pinellas County to seek tourism tax dollars for infrastructure needs if the city can prove tourists use them.

Johnson said he hopes to use this to help them continue to pay for their sewage repairs — the two phases are expected to cost $12,000,000 total. 

For local governments to request these dollars, they will have to meet certain criteria. 

As for the other side of the issue, those in the tourism industry worry it will take away marketing and advertising revenue.