The Oneida County tax on hotel rooms and other accommodations would increase from 2 percent to 5 percent under bills in the state Legislature.
Much of the increase in the bed tax would be used for tourism capital projects such as a proposed venue for sports tournaments in Utica, according to local lawmakers.
State Sen. Joe Griffo, R-47th Dist. of Rome, and Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119th of Marcy, have introduced bills in their respective chambers increasing the tax.
While purely a local matter, raising the tax requires action by the state Legislature, and such local-only bills are often handled at the end of the legislative session each year.
A measure endorsing it is before the Oneida County Board of Legislators’ June meeting Wednesday.
A memo to legislators from County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. says the increase was requested by the county’s tourism agency and the Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority, which oversees the Adirondack Bank Auditorium.
Picente proposed the Nexus center as a draw for youth tournaments, which could bring customers for hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses to the area.
It would be built to the east of the auditorium, or “Aud,” home to the Utica Comets minor-league hockey team, Utica’s professional indoor-soccer team and ice hockey teams of Utica College, as well as other athletic and entertainment events.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration awarded up to $22 million toward the project in the fiscal 2020 budget adopted in April.
Oneida County has issued requests for proposals and
estimates the cost to be $35-40 million.