Each year visitors to Springfield pay a small tax when they stay at a hotel or motel.
Some of those dollars are earmarked for the Wonders of Wildlife museum.
And even though museum doors have been closed since 2007, taxes are still collected.
The funds collected prior to 2011 have been donated back into the community, but the money collected since then is now being split up between nonprofits in Springfield.
Each year about 300,000 dollars will be available for projects that promote tourism and education.
In 2013, the first year for this program, four local organizations received funds, including the Discovery Center.
It’s not the most comfortable bed, but it’s more for education than rest.
The newest feature at the Discovery Center is called the Bed of Nails.
When these hospitality taxes are put on the ballot, as they often are, they’re often pitched as ways to get people to visit your fair municipality. They’re not often cast as ways to soak non-residents to subsidize a selected industry and to provide fungible funds for frivolity, but that’s what they are in truth.
Do you think you could get a Bed of Nails Tax on the ballot and to pass? Of course not.
Do you think you could get this sort of tax repealed? Of course not. After all, non-residents who pay this tax don’t get to vote, and the regional chamber of commerce and hospitality trade organizations and lobbyists will be present and loud in support of it.
This ratchet so often turns but one way.