Funds expected to expand, improve recreational facilities in Kent County

LANSING, Mich., Nov. 13, 2023 — The Michigan Legislature recently passed House Bill 5048; this legislation will allow local governments in Kent County and across the state to accelerate their local economies and attractiveness to tourism. Introduced by state Rep. John Fitzgerald (D-Wyoming), HB 5048 has successfully passed both chambers of the Michigan Legislature. The passage of this bill marks a significant step forward for Kent County, as it provides local governments with the tools they need to enhance the quality of life for their current residents, attract new residents and stimulate economic growth through the promotion of tourism.

The policy will amend existing law to grant cities and townships in Kent County the authority to collect a hotel-motel excise tax. Additionally, it increases the maximum allowable tax rate for eight counties, including Kent, from 5% to 8% for an existing hotel-motel tax. This change is expected to generate additional revenue for municipalities, enhance their ability to support facilities and activities promoting tourism and convention business within their jurisdictions. The bill updates the list of convention and entertainment facilities eligible for funding through accommodations tax revenue to include aquariums and sports complexes.

“Kent County is home to some of the state’s best concerts, breweries, outdoor experiences and other recreational activities,” Fitzgerald said. “The recreation and entertainment industry is only going to continue to improve and grow, especially with proposed projects in the area. This is just one step in making Grand Rapids and Kent County a premier destination for travel, entertainment and business in the Midwest.”

Fitzgerald reiterated, “Voters will need to approve these measures — the measures will help create jobs, improve and maintain recreational facilities and encourage private investments in the local economy.”