Lawmakers approved a bill during Monday’s special legislative session that could clear the way for a new convention center or improvements to existing tourism facilities in Vigo County. House Bill 1242, which also involved several tax issues and exemptions, allows the county to make its own decision on a food and beverage tax to fund convention or tourism projects.
The bill was signed by Governor Eric Holcomb shortly after it received House and Senate approval. The one percent tax, if approved at the local level, could generate up to $2.1 million for the county’s Capital Improvement Board.
Local proponents of a convention center in Terre Haute say public awareness campaigns for the funding and the potential project will begin to be discussed. Mayor Duke Bennett says "although this is great news for the convention center, this new income also allows us to create a larger vision around tourism-based economic growth. The language, if passed at the local level, allows us to dream beyond a convention center, incorporating other projects that improve the quality of life for Vigo County residents and bring people to our community where they will support our local businesses."