Rupp Project Supporters Hopeful As Hotel Tax Advances To Full House

Mar 19, 2014

Legislation clearing the way for Lexington to up its hotel tax to help fund the Rupp Arena expansion sailed through a House committee Wednesday.

Mayor Jim Gray lobbies a House committee to pass legislation allowing Lexington to raise its hotel tax.
Credit Josh James / WUKY

It’s a funding source Mayor Jim Gray has described as “mission critical” to the $310 million dollar Rupp project.

And while the House Local Government Committee lent its unanimous support Wednesday, there may not be a united front back home. Citing a lack of information, a handful of Urban County Council members did not sign a letter promising support for the measure if it passes the General Assembly.

Gray, however, says most have agreed to sign on.

"Work with the council... just began itself and so the council members are still considering it. I feel very optimistic that the council members will be favorable toward the legislation," Gray says.

The bill would enable Lexington to raise its hotel tax by 2.5 percent, a move officials estimate would generate $3.5 million. Gray did not offer specifics on how the city might proceed if the bill fails to pass, but he stressed that his administration remains committed.

Now the legislation moves to the Senate, where Nicholasville Republican Tom Buford says lawmakers still have unanswered questions about the project.