Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Politicians mis-using Motel Tax? Say it ain't so!

Hey, when it leaves the wallets of taxpayers do you really expect politicians to resist the temptation to spend it?

ATLANTA - A state panel voted unanimously Monday morning to investigate three small cities because of repeated problems with how they handle hotel-motel taxes.

The panel also voted not to pursue three other cities, Pooler, Dillard and Rockmart, for complaints lodged against them last year.

The new cities - Richmond Hill near Savannah, Greensboro between Augusta and Athens, and Buford near Lake Lanier - came to the board's attention when audits raised questions about procedures for handling the tax money.

Nearly 300 local governments tax hotel and motel guests. State law requires a portion of the funds be used to promote tourism and conventions.

If the Hotel-Motel Tax Performance Review Board finds that the local governments have continued to mishandle the funds even after being instructed to change their procedures, the panel can recommend that the state prohibit them from charging the tax in the future.