JACKSON HOLE, WYO \u2013 The Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Joint Powers Board published its second annual report\u00a0last week. It is filled with interesting facts and figures concerning everything tourism (and then some) in Jackson Hole. In addition to the report, the Chamber of Commerce will host a Business Over Breakfast tomorrow morning at the Wort Hotel to delve into the details of how the tax works and where the money goes. Anytime the lodging tax is mentioned, or the Travel and Tourism Board (the body that oversees and spends the funds collected by the tax) is brought up, the reaction is often a knee-jerk bristling by many. \u201cWe don\u2019t need to be promoting Jackson Hole right now,\u201d some think. \u201cTime to turn off the spigot.\u201d Indeed, Jackson Hole is a tourist-based community. It has served us well through the years and we\u2019re pretty flush right now. But that is not the case in the rest of the state. \u201cMany communities throughout Wyoming have suffered significant budget cuts due to reduced revenue from mineral rights and a heavily reduced state budget." TTB chair Alex Klein stated in his address accompanying the Travel and Tourism Board annual report for FY2017. \u201cTeton County fared well because tourism is our main economic driver, and as this report indicates, tourism remains strong\u2026\u201d The TTB's new campaign is an effort to keep our local tourism driven economy strong and thriving. With six-month hotel occupancy rates indicating a 5% decline compared to last year the TTB's efforts will very important to a lot of local businesses and community members who's jobs depend on tourism. What and when of the \u2018bed tax\u2019 Dubbed \u201cthe tax you don\u2019t pay,\u201d state statute mandates the allocation ratios concerning how funds from the lodging tax are spent. Right now, 60% of the funds collected are used for the marketing and promotion of Jackson Hole, with about 20% of that spent on supporting smaller, local community events like youth hockey and lacrosse, cutter races, and SHIFT. The TTB recently unveiled its new winter campaign: Stay Wild. The remaining 40% reverts to the town and county\u201430% to mitigate visitor impact and 10% to the general fund of the town and county to be spent at their discretion. The tax generates around six million dollars a year ($6.3M in 2016). Klein points out that without the lodging tax, the town and county budgets would lose approximately $2.5 million, annually\u2014money that helps fund transit, pathways, emergency services and other civic amenities. Discussions have ramped up recently about changing the spending formula to reduce the promotional component for increased mitigation. Local lawmakers say don\u2019t count on that happening anytime soon. Teton County is the only county of 23 that bears the \u2018burden\u2019 of too much of a good thing when it comes to raking in tourism revenue. In acknowledgment of the county\u2019s uniqueness, Teton was granted a break by the legislature in 2010, when we became the only county to allocate lodging tax funds with a 60\/30\/10 split. Previously, the county was required to spend 90% of the tax revenue on promotion. Desire or distaste for the lodging tax has always trended with the valley\u2019s boom-and-bust cycles. In place since 1986, the tax was soundly defeated at the polls in 1994 when Jackson Hole was experiencing high times. It remained dormant until 2010 when the need to spur tourism was again recognized in the face of a sputtering economy. A 2% lodging tax was put in place in 2010 with 60% of the vote. It was renewed in 2014 by a 76-22 percent margin. But, facing a vote for a four-year renewal in November 2018, there is speculation the lodging tax will be a hard sell at the polls. Fast Facts: \tTeton County welcomed 1,664,000\u00a0overnight visitors to the area in 2016. \tDomestic and international travelers spent $1.02 billion in Teton County, and generated $54.8 million in state and local taxes. \tVisitors paid 57.1% of the sales tax\u00a0in Teton County. \tIn 2016, travelers generated 8,250 jobs\u00a0in Teton County. \tTravelers supported 26% of Teton County\u2019s total private industry employment. Without the jobs generated by the travel industry, the 2015 Teton County unemployment rate of 3.8% would have been 29.7%. Business Over Breakfast hosted by the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, November 2 from 7:30-9:00am at the Wort Hotel. Breakfast costs $16 for Chamber members and $25 for the general public.\u00a0Please RSVP today. Or by phone, (307) 201-2309.