Visitors bureau received $3.4M from tax in ’12

By By Andrew Perzo / American Press

How much does the visitors bureau get from the hotel occupancy tax, and how do they spend that money?

According to its latest financial

report, released in September, the Southwest Louisiana Convention &

Visitors Bureau in 2012

took in $3,412,002 from the occupancy tax, a 4 percent levy on

hotel, motel and overnight camping stays. The amount for 2011

was $3,178,588.

The bureau must use the tax proceeds

for operations and — here the report paraphrases state law — “for the

purpose of attracting

conventions and tourists into the area, and jurisdiction of the

Bureau including, but not limited to, the authority to spend

money for advertising, promotion, and publication of information,

or for any other purpose generally or specifically authorized

for occupancy taxes in the parish ... or by any local, special, or

general law.”

Other bureau revenues for 2012, and the percentage change from 2011, according to the report, prepared by McElroy, Quirk and

Burch:

Interest and dividends — $19,123; down 23.13 percent.

Gift shop — $25,531; down 9.73 percent.

Intergovernmental — $45,031; down 78.82 percent.

Cooperative advertising — $50,575; down 25.39 percent.

Gain from sale of assets — $3,649; up 17.7 percent.

Miscellaneous — $1,199; up 27.8 percent.

Total revenues — $3,557,110; down 1.17 percent.

Expenditures, and the percentage change from 2011, listed in the report:

Advertising, sales and promotions — $1,648,360; up 36.28 percent.

Personnel services — $1,014,675; up 12.19 percent.

Payroll taxes — $73,806; up 3.23 percent.

Employee benefits — $224,171; up 7.32 percent.

Accounting — $15,000; down 23.08 percent.

Automobile — $25,559; up 11.21 percent.

Building maintenance — $80,994; up 27.73 percent.

Equipment contracts — $91,332; up 3.96 percent.

Gift shop — $18,084; up 7.17 percent.

General insurance — $62,413; up 39.08 percent.

Legal and professional fees — $57,847; up 10.82 percent.

Miscellaneous — $3,761; down 58.96 percent.

Office — $32,382; down 5.59 percent.

Utilities — $30,655; down 6.79 percent.

Vending — $295; down 43.77 percent.

Grants — $696,144; up 35.69 percent.

Capital outlay — $454,434; up 343.48 percent.

Bond retirement — $90,000; up 5.88 percent.

Interest expense — $7,800; down 29.01 percent.

Total expenditures — $4,627,712; up 32.58 percent.

The report attributes the increase in occupancy tax revenue to more hotel stays “for corporate market and multiple events.”

Intergovernmental revenue fell because

of a grant from BP in 2011, and cooperative ad revenue decreased “due to

grant funds

received in 2011 from the Louisiana Tourism Coastal Coalition to

advertise and promote tourism in coastal Louisiana through

BP funds” the bureau didn’t receive in 2012, the report says.

Total revenue for 2011 was $3,516,139.

Marketing campaigns in Texas and Canada accounted for the jump in ad, sales and promotion expenses, and capital outlay costs

increased because of a land purchase for an interpretive center in west Calcasieu, the report says.

Window replacement, flood insurance, and the creation of a new job post accounted for some other variations in expenses, the

report says.

Expenditures for 2011 totaled $3,490,411.

Online: www.lla.state.la.us.

The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com.