Vigo County is one step closer to building a new convention center, after legislators approved a measure on Monday that could help fund the project. It allows the county to impose a food and beverage tax of up to one percent.
The language was included in House Bill 1242, a larger bill covering topics ranging from tax exemptions on asphalt purchases to repealing a tax on riverboat casinos.
The General Assembly’s action paves the way for the Vigo County Council to pass a local food and beverage tax. And, it could face some pushback from residents.
Bruce Borders (R-Jasonville) represents the southern portion of Vigo County in the Indiana House of Representatives. He voted against the measure and says he doesn’t appreciate legislators from outside of his district greenlighting taxes in Vigo County.
“Every time they go out to eat or get a soda or whatever beverage they’re getting, they’re going to be paying for that for the rest of their lives,” he says. “I really don’t appreciate [the legislature taking this on] quite frankly.”
The bill places strict limitations on where the tax’s revenues can go. Legislators specified money generated must go to financing a convention center or facility dedicated to tourism or the arts.
The county previously planned to build a convention center next to Indiana State University’s Hulman Center, but the partnership fell through. Officials say they plan to move forward on the project alone, using money from the food and beverage and innkeeper’s tax.