Proposal on sharing tourist tax meets resistance

Wresting control of some local tourist tax dollars to use for statewide leisure industry promotion and fund law enforcement may sound like a good idea in Tallahassee, but it’s getting mixed reviews hereabout.

State Rep. Matthew Gaetz, chairman of the House Tax and Finance Committee, recently proposed legislation allowing up to 10 percent of bed tax collections to be spent on law enforcement services.

Santa Rosa County Sheriff Wendell Hall embraced that idea: “The dollars spent to supplement the impact of tourists on law enforcement would be very appropriate,” Hall said. “Those dollars would help fund the additional law enforcement needs (additional deputies and equipment). This would certainly help offset the impact tourists have on Santa Rosa County law enforcement resources.”

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