Metro approves new fee to fund Music City Center

Metro approves new fee to fund Music City Center (Image 1)

The Music City Center has been heralded for generating business downtown, but some argue more money is needed to attract more conventions.

A highly debated sales tax received the green light from Metro Council Tuesday.

With a vote of 32-4, Nashville approved a fee to build a new recruitment fund for the Music City Center.

A 0.25 percent sales tax would be tacked onto food, beer and goods within the downtown area.

For example, it's a penny on a beer that costs $4.  It is essentially a tax on tourists expected to raise around $1 million each year to help attract business at the convention center.

“It's only 2, 2.5 cents on a $10 ticket.  I get that. I understand all of it, but it's still a tax, it's another revenue stream,” said Metro Councilman Robert Duvall.

Those in favor of the sales tax say it will help lure major conventions, which will help generate more tourism dollars for the city. Others feel it's simply just another tax.

“We've invested over $700 million in the convention center downtown. If this 0.25 of a percent is going to help make us successful in that investment, then I think it's worth it,” said Metro Councilman Josh Stites.

The fee goes into effect in January 2014. 

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