Lawton to vote on hotel occupancy tax increase

Lawton to vote on hotel occupancy tax increase

LAWTON, Okla._People visiting the Lawton area may soon have to pay more for their stay.

That's if a half-percent hotel occupancy tax increase is approved by voters on Tuesday, November 10. Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jacob Brox says the hotel occupancy tax benefits Lawton by promoting tourism and economic development.

"We work year round to bring in big conventions, which drive all restaurants, hotels, stores, retail…everything. We also bring in big corporations, trying to get them to do business here," Brox said.

They also support groups like the Lawton Philharmonic, Lawton Community Theatre and the Museum of the Great Plains. Museum director John Hernandez says they rely on the hotel occupancy tax to help fund their efforts to draw people from outside Lawton to tour the museum.

"The only way to get the word out is through marketing. We do very little because of our budget, but with this type of budget we're able to reach a lot more people. We do more Facebook, and right now we have a company doing some marketing for us," Hernandez explained.

If passed by voters at the polls on Tuesday, the new 5.5 percent tax rate will take effect May 1, 2016, and end April 30, 2021.

Voting is Tuesday, November 10, from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. you can read the full text of the ballot here.