Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A Richland County Council member is pushing for a discussion to do away with the Richland County Hospitality Tax.
The proposal was on the agenda Tuesday for discussion by council members but was tabled for the first council meeting of the New Year.
The hospitality tax brings millions of dollars to Richland County in efforts to increase tourism in Columbia and in throughout the county.
Councilman Torrey Rush who proposed the change says that it is time for council to review the tax and see if it is still needed in the area.
Money from the taxes is awarded to projects that draw tourist to the area. Rush says county officials have continued to add new taxes like the penny sales tax and increase property taxes and he thinks a discussion is needed to decide if the tax is still relevant.
"I think initially when this tax was enacted it wasn't meant to be the lifeline forever it was more so to be a stop gap or to assist in the process so I think it is healthy for all organizations to look at ways to better serve the community and for us it's looking at ways to save tax payer dollars and making sure we are spending our dollars efficiently," said Rush.
Councilman Seth Rose agrees that a discussion is needed.
"I think it is a good discussion to have, right now one of my major concerns that I have is that with the hospitality tax we have a lot of wasteful spending. The majority of council to some extent is using the tax like a slush fund, there have been a lot of projects that I did not agree with and we are talking about millions of dollars however on another side of it we fund EdVenture, the Columbia Museum of Art and other arts organizations that enhance our community through the tax and I don't want to see them suffer so I do supper the discussion and I hope that we can spend the dollars wisely," said Rose.
The proposal will come before council at their first meeting of the new year which is on January 7th.