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Stillwater Proposes Lodging Tax

A three percent lodging tax was proposed in Stillwater this week, with revenue to fund tourism promotions in the area.

The Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce who proposed the tax, pointed to similar taxes in other Stillwater-like communities that have generated tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. The Chamber of Commerce said this tax could generate up to $192,000 per year.

One of the first things they would do, if the tax is approved, will be to use the money to revitalize tourism in the area.

Officials want to see the tax in place by July 1, to take advantage of the upcoming travel season.

The Super 8 and AmericInn Lodge and Suites located on Minnesota 36 said the 3 percent tax would not hurt business. Most communities already have such a tax in place and many travelers are not opposed to paying it, if they notice it at all.

Some smaller Bed and Breakfasts in the Stillwater area oppose the tax. Lisa Lothson, president of the Stilwater Bed and Breakfast Association and manager of the Rivertown Inn in Stillwater told the Pioneer Press the tax would hurt small businesses. Lothson said the responsibility to boost tourism should be shared by all types of businesses that benefit from the tourist industry, including restaurants and entertainment venues. Other small businesses also oppose the tax. Lake Elmo's Wildwood Lodge is planning to lobby against the tax.