SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A additional 2 percent hotel occupancy tax on the ballot in Caddo and Bossier Parishes Tuesday failed by a razor-thin margin.
The $2.2 million that would have been raised annually would have been divided up among three groups, including the ArkLaTex Regional Air Service Alliance (RASA).
RASA would have used funding from the new tax would be used to bring more air service to the area, which basically means to the traveler more seats to choose from.
"It's back to square one and we're behind again another 2, 3 years," says RASA President Tim Wilhite. "I mean, we're placing ourselves in hole that will be difficult to get out of."
Tuesday's failure was RASA's second attempt to get the tax approved. It failed in the legislature the first time around, but passed on a second attempt and the proposal was put before voters.
"We're the ones that secured the Denver flight with United Airlines, and we're ready to try to expand to Chicago, Charlotte and Washington D.C., but it takes funding to that."
The additional revenue would also have gone to the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission to help fund sports tourism attracting more events like the Bassmaster Classic. The rest would have gone to the Duck Commander Independence bowl.
Supporters stressed that the money would have come from visitors staying at hotels and campgrounds, not locals. However, voters were nearly evenly divided on the proposal, which failed by just 208 votes.
A hotel occupancy tax already exists. Funds go to the Shreveport Bossier convention and Tourism Bureau.