Panama City Voters To Decide on Bed Tax

PANAMA CITY-- Bay County Commissioners agreed to schedule the issue for a special referendum on September 30.

The ballot will ask voters if they want to require lodgers within the panama city limits to collect an additional 5 percent bed tax which will be used to promote tourism.

Commissioners approved the special election by a 4 to 1 vote.

George Gainer was the only commissioner to oppose the proposal, but not because he's against the bed tax.

"I think we have a great board, and they're struggling real hard to put Panama City back together and fix it back like we all remember and I think this is part of that plan. I just felt like it would be a lot easier for them to attain that goal if we had a commissioner on there since all that money does flow through the county and then back to the cities themselves," Bay Co. Commissioner George Gainer said.

"I think Panama City should've had a bed tax years ago. I personally believe, if they're going to advertise the downtown area, it should be used, the money used for that, should be generated from the people using the service," Bay Co. Commissioner Mike Thomas said.

If approved, the hotel will start collecting the tax next year.

The bed tax study committee estimates the city will collect about $3 million in revenue in its first two years.


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