Legislature backs Baton Rouge hotel tax plan

The Louisiana House gave final legislative approval Thursday to a bill that would allow tax revenue to be used for the development of a downtown Baton Rouge hotel.

The House voted 91-0 in favor of Senate Bill 648 without making any changes to it. The legislation now goes to Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The bill impacts property that the state recently sold. Developer Mike Wampold plans to renovate a nearly century-old, 12-story building on Third Street into a 146 room hotel.

(It) creates jobs for a lot of people in need,” said state Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge.

The legislation would create a tax increment financing district, or a TIF in state government circles. Part of the hotel and sales tax revenue generated by the development could be put toward paying for the project.

If the hotel generates $633,000 a year in tax revenue, the developer would keep $335,000. An additional tax also could be levied.