One of the fastest growing cities in the state would get an additional economic boost thanks to legislation filed by state Rep. Sara Walsh (R—Ashland). On the first day of bill pre-filing, Walsh introduced HB 28 to give voters an opportunity to decide if Ashland should implement a transient guest tax to raise additional revenues for the city.

Walsh’s legislation is similar to a bill she filed during the 2020 legislative session. It would allow the city to impose a guest tax on hotel rooms of not more than 5 percent per occupied room per night. While Ashland does not currently have any hotels, the city’s growth and the recently announced terminal expansion of the Columbia Regional Airport could lead to hotels within the city limits. Looking to the future, Ashland city officials several years ago annexed into Ashland the land surrounding the airport. Walsh said when hotels are built, and voters approve the guest tax, it could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for the city.

“Ashland is already growing at an amazing pace, and this additional revenue would help the city with new funding for vital areas such as tourism promotion, growth and economic development, and public safety, without raising property taxes,” said Walsh. She added, “This is an issue that has widespread support in the city and I am confident voters will see the benefit of this small charge for hotel rooms that will provide a big boost to the city’s revenues.”

Walsh’s legislation will be considered by the Missouri General Assembly which officially convenes for the 2021 legislative session on January 6.