Grand Junction voters agreed Tuesday night to double the city's lodging tax in order to boost tourism and sporting events marketing and incentivize more direct flights into and out of Grand Junction Regional Airport.
Unofficial results late Tuesday showed Ballot Issue 2A, which increases the lodging tax from 3 percent to 6 percent, passing by 55 percent to 45 percent, or 13,124 to 10,772 votes.
The tax increase will offer incentives for additional air service at the airport, attract more events to the area by providing more funding for the Greater Grand Junction Sports Commission, and generate more revenue for Visit Grand Junction to better market Grand Junction to tourists.
Julie Shafer, a member of the "The Tax You Don't Pay" campaign that was created in support of 2A, said most people she talked to liked the idea of Grand Junction supporting more airline connections.
"Other communities have supported air service for many years," Shafer said at an election watch party with other 2A supporters at the Holiday Inn & Suites, 2751 Crossroads Blvd. "This will give us some sustained revenue to continue going in that direction."
Shafer said the idea to seek a lodging tax increase had been percolating for a few years because it would provide an extra boost to highlight Grand Junction as a tourist destination.
"We've been at the same percentage for 30 years," Shafer said of the former 3 percent lodging tax rate.
The new rate goes into effect in January.
Robert Feeley and family members who are ownership partners of Super 8, 728 Horizon Drive, launched an opposition campaign, "Keep Your Job in Grand Junction," that raised more than twice as much campaign money as 2A supporters.
Feeley estimated on Tuesday afternoon that campaign funds totaled roughly $70,000, with most of that from Feeley family members.
Feeley said he believes the lodging tax increase is too high and will hurt tourism because visitors will decide not to pay the extra money and go elsewhere.