What is the Lodging Tax?
The Lodging Tax refers to the sales tax on hotels, motels, and other temporary lodging. It is a tax paid primarily by visitors; the tax rate varies by city and county in Washington State. A 2% credit against the basic 6.5% state sales tax is reserved in King County for servicing debt on the Kingdome, youth sports activities, open space acquisition, and tourism promotion, including funding for King County arts and heritage programs.
Is "Lodging Tax" the same thing as "Hotel/Motel Tax"?
Yes. Lodging Tax is the preferred industry name for what is also called the Hotel/Motel Tax.
What is the King County Lodging Tax for Culture?
The Lodging Tax for Culture was established by state law in 1987 when the state legislature set a cap on the annual tax revenues servicing construction bonds for the Kingdome at $5.3 million. A portion of the tax revenues above $5.3 million per year are dedicated to arts and heritage programs through the year 2012, when the original Kingdome debt is scheduled to be retired. Between 2001 and 2012 cultural programs receive 70% of the excess revenue above $5.3 million, with a requirement that 40% of the revenues for cultural programs be set-aside in an endowment intended to fund arts and heritage after 2012.
What does the Lodging Tax for Culture support?
4Culture provides funding for support of the visual and performing arts, heritage programs and historic preservation. Annual funding supports the activities of more than 250 arts and heritage organizations, hundreds of artists and heritage specialists, capital construction projects and equipment purchases, new arts and heritage projects, and cultural education in public schools. The cultural benefits of this tax extend to all communities and residents of King County and provide visitors with a vast array of cultural experiences produced by the region's innovative and nationally recognized arts and heritage organizations.
What has been the impact of this fund?
- New arts facilities and local history museums in communities throughout King County
- Expanded opportunities for suburban and rural audiences to attend and participate in the arts
- A regional network of local arts agencies providing cultural programs for their local communities
- More than 250 arts and heritage organizations receiving annual support for public programs
- $1.75 billion in economic impact annually, including $400 million in "new money," spent by visitors
- 10.5 million visitors to cultural events each year
Arts and heritage funding stimulates cultural development and provides access to cultural opportunities in all areas of the county, from professional exhibitions and performances to community groups, festivals and events. Cultural programs build a sense of community and infuse our work and our daily lives with the joy of creativity and the power of imagination.
Who oversees the distribution of the Lodging Tax for Culture in King County?
Lodging taxes for cultural programs in King County are distributed to cultural organizations in accordance with King County Code and managed by 4Culture, a public development authority chartered by King County in 2003 to continue the work of the 35-year-old King County Office of Cultural Resources. 4Culture is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors and four citizen advisory committees in the arts, public art, heritage and historic preservation. Three King County Council members and a representative of the Executive's office also serve as ex-officio board members and represent the county's ongoing commitment to cultural development.
What happens to this fund after 2012 when the Kingdome bonds are retired?
The use of the Lodging Tax for Culture will end at the end of 2012 and begin again in 2021. Between 2001 and 2012, state law required 40% of the annual Lodging Tax for Culture to be set-aside in an endowment. The continuation of cultural funding between 2013 and 2020 will be provided by spending down the corpus of the endowment, as authorized by the state legislature through SB 5834
, which was passed by the legislature in 2011. Beginning in 2021, the state has authorized 37.5% of future lodging tax revenues generated in King County to be allocated for arts and heritage programs in King County.