Bend Transient Room Tax Increase – Ballot Measure 9-94 – Receives Endorsements The Central Oregon Association of Realtors, the Bend Chamber of Commerce, Arts & Culture Alliance


Cascade Business News, Arts Central, Art in Public Places, Downtown Bend Business Association, Tower Theatre Foundation, Visit Bend Board of Directors, Old Mill District, Police Chief’s Advisory Board, Deschutes County Historical Society and the Bend Bulletin have endorsed measure 9-94, which appears on ballots mailed last week and due to the county clerk by November 5. Several of these groups have also endorsed Measure 9-96. 

According to Tim Casey, President/CEO of the chamber: “The Bend Chamber was encouraged to see all parties come to the table and create a compromise on the transient room tax. When businesses and organizations work together collaboratively for the greater good of the community, it’s a win-win for everyone. The Bend Chamber supports the upcoming ballot measure because it allows us to reach out to other communities to bring more business into Bend.” 

COAR Board member, Lester Friedman added: “COAR is pleased to endorse Ballot Measures 9-94 and 9-96, which will allow the City of Bend and Deschutes County to invest more in public safety, increase tourism during the fall and winter months, and promote the county fair and expo center to large visitor groups. In return for a modest increase in the hotel lodging tax our region’s economy will benefit from increased tourism during otherwise slow months and our resident’s quality of life will benefit by needed investments in police and fire protection.” 

The Measure will increase the temporary lodging tax rate from 9 percent to 10.4 percent by June 1, 2015.  More than $150,000 annually would be generated from the additional revenue to establish a cultural tourism fund providing grants for Bend’s arts organizations.
A letter to voters, signed by supporters of the arts community, stated, “Arts and culture define a community’s personality and quality of life, but an investment in art and culture is also an investment in Bend’s creative economy.

“Bend’s creative economy [currently]supports 160 jobs, generates $16 million per year in local spending, and provides nearly 2 million cultural experiences per year.”

During 2012, cultural travelers spent $19.6 billion in Oregon, and Bend’s arts and cultural events, programs and products can, and should, tap these additional, potential dollars.
“Measure 9-94 reinvests in both our economy and community well being at no cost to residents,” the voter letter concluded. “A vibrant cultural economy attracts more visitors, new residents, new business opportunities, and new jobs.”

Deschutes County Room Tax Increase – Measure 9-96 – is currently at 7 percent and with voter approval will increase by 1 percent. Thirty percent of the funds raised will go the county general fund to be spent on critical county services such as public safety, health and human services and county infrastructure. The other 70 percent, estimated to be $500,000 a year, will go solely to the Deschutes County Fairgrounds Expo Center for economic development purposes.

This will be very beneficial to the High Desert economy and to the Expo Center, which currently only spends about $35,000 a year on marketing to outside sources, to bring new visitors to the region.City of Bend Room Tax Increase – Measure 9-94 – is currently at 9 percent and with voter approval will increase by 1.4 percent to 10.4 percent.

The tax is slated to be increased in two-phases, to 10 percent next June, then another .4 percent in June 2015. It’s reasonable to expect tourists to pay a fair tax when visiting our region.

By comparison, other destinations’ combined lodging taxes and fees include Spokane (14 percent), Boise (13 percent), Boulder (12.3 percent), Santa Barbara (12 percent), Portland (14.5 percent), Seattle (17.6 percent), and South Lake Tahoe (15 percent). Measure 9-94 is a small increase in the tax tourists pay to stay in Bend hotels.

This measure will add just $1.40 for tourists presently spending $100 a night for a Bend hotel. Upon it’s passage, the increase will provide an additional $200,000 a year to police and firefighters, $150,000 a year for arts and culture, and $300,000 to market Bend to potential tourists in Seattle and Northern California—currently untapped markets that could significantly influence economic gains for Bend. Ballots have been mailed, take the time to read the Voters Pamphlet and understand the value to our economy and be sure to vote by November 5…ONE WEEK FROM TODAY.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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