Panama City Hotels Want Bed Tax

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Panama City Panama City officials want to be included in Bay County Tourist Development Council's taxing district.

City officials say they want to do more to promote Panama City as a tourist destination.

The deal will require an act of the state legislature.

Tuesday morning, Panama City Business owners appealed to city commissioners to join the TDC, and enact a bed tax on the hotels and motels within the proposed district.

Commissioners didn't need much convincing.

Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki says, "We're doing a lot to enhance the city and we need people from other areas to help come and support."

Panama City wants to join Panama City Beach and Mexico Beach in Bay County's TDC.

The bed tax revenues panama city would generate would go to tourism-related activities, like marketing and special events.

But the proposal requires a public vote of the people who live in the designated tax district, then approval from the state legislature.

State law would give 2 TDC seats to the city with the largest population.

That means Panama City would displace the beach, which brings in far more tourist dollars.

Lee County was face with a similar situation, and got the state legislature to amend it's TDC charter to allow the city that brings in the most money to have more representation.

Representative Jimmy Patronis explains, "Whenever the identical language is already used in Florida statute, it makes it much easier for staff review, constitutional review, legal review to make sure that the legislation can be applied."

The bill will be presented in front of a local legislative delegation December 5th.