Holloway applauds passage of tourism legislation

Mayor A.J. Holloway is hailing the passage of a tourism incentive bill as excellent news for Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The bill, which passed the House last month and the Senate on Wednesday, adds casino resorts as eligible for a 30 percent sales tax rebate for investing at least $10 million for theme and water parks, golf courses, museums, motor speedways, entertainment or convention centers, professional sports facilities and marinas; and $40 million in hotels. Casino resorts have been previously excluded from the measure. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature to become law.

“We’re a tourism community and this is a tourism bill,” Holloway said. “In the economic climate we live in today, we need every tool that we can get to spur growth and investment, and to create jobs.”

The mayor noted that the bill gives casino resorts the same incentives every other business enjoys.

“Any legislation that even mentions gaming is a tricky task in the state Legislature,” Holloway said. “I remember walking down the devastated streets of east Biloxi days after the storm when I told Governor Barbour that casinos needed to come on shore to protect this important industry and its thousands of jobs. I thought that was a no-brainer, but it ended up taking weeks of tough negotiations.”

Holloway also praised State Rep. Diane Peranich, who chairs the House Tourism Committee, for her diligence in seeing the bill through the legislature. Said the mayor: “She’s worked on this bill for several years. She knew the importance and she stayed on it until it was done.”