September 25, 2018

Lawmakers want Clearwater Marine Aquarium to get cut of hotel tax money

Clearwater Marine Aquarium won a wave of tourists thanks to world attention from the Dolphin Tale film set there.

Now aquarium backers want lawmakers to help fish out tourist tax money for the venue.

Two Clearwater-based state lawmakers have filed bills to make aquariums eligible to receive a cut from the county’s 5 percent tax on hotel stays. State law now excludes them from receiving the money, overseen in Pinellas County by the Tourist Development Council. Sports stadiums, convention centers and museums are eligible.

The change would apply statewide to nonprofit aquariums open to the public, including the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. If