2020 GACVB Priorities & State Legislative Agenda 

(approved by the GACVB Board of Directors on August 29, 2019)

1.  Protect Georgia's lodging taxes from redirection

  • Some communities have tried to expand the definition of acceptable uses for lodging taxes and some have advocated for legislation to allow for its use for a wide variety of city services that have little or nothing to do with tourism. So far, those have all been defeated, but they come up again every year. We cannot allow the erosion of that revenue stream and that is why this is one of our top legislative priorities.
  • The growing short-term vacation rental economic sector has become an important option for travelers choosing Georgia. As with many new platforms in the shared economy, the learning curve is often steepest in the beginning. Short-term rentals have grown into a significant option as part of the total tourism package. We recognize that economic benefit to homeowners, local businesses, and destination marketing organizations around the state. We believe in a level playing field across visitor accommodations and that communities throughout Georgia benefit when the entire lodging industry collects and remits appropriate taxes and fees. Several communities are exploring options and best practices embracing the short-term rental industry. Careful analysis of the potential benefits of appropriate collection and remittance of taxes and fees will make clear the best direction for Georgia communities.

2.  Increase Georgia's investment in tourism marketing

  • Our state’s tourism marketing budget sits dead last in the southeast. This is a missed economic opportunity that would benefit all communities throughout Georgia. 
  • When you consider the money spent by tourists in Georgia, especially those from out-of-state, the return on investment in the form of lodging taxes, sales taxes, and the state hotel motel $5 per night fee is tremendous from the State’s perspective. 

3.  Oppose legislation that allows discrimination

  • In Georgia, we do not discriminate for any reason, at any time, in any place. Period. 
  • Our history proves it. One of the reasons that Georgia’s economy outpaces our neighbors Alabama and Mississippi is because in the 50s and 60s we left the old ways of discrimination behind and through leadership found our way to new prosperity for our state.
  • There are some in our state that have promoted the concept of protecting our freedom of religion through what they call a religious freedom restoration act – also known as RFRA. In 2016 a bill was passed but Governor Deal vetoed it over complaints from many Republican office holders.
  • Don’t be confused by the rhetoric. It’s not necessary because our freedom to practice our religion is already protected and some promote RFRA because they want to use it as grounds for discrimination. We have not had one example within our state of anyone’s religious freedoms being violated, but we see many examples of other states having lost out on real economic investment due to their legislatures passing laws that were perceived as discriminatory. North Carolina and Indiana are the best examples of the immediate and significant negative impact that comes to the states that pass anything that allows for discrimination.
  • We want to keep that from happening here in the state named the best state in which to do business for the 5th year in a row. We want to support the Governor and others that have helped us avoid the same fate as North Carolina.