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Thirty hotels in Jefferson County are delinquent on hotel occupa - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Thirty hotels in Jefferson County are delinquent on hotel occupancy taxes

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The Ben J. Rogers Regional Visitors Center serves as a gateway to tourists entering Southeast Texas, a one-stop shop to learn about all the area has to offer.

Its director, Kathi Hughes, says it's open seven days a week, 360 days a year.

She said, "The hotel occupancy tax that's collected by Jefferson County is what runs the visitors center."

That's money paid by guests staying in Jefferson County hotels, the hotels then pay cities and counties, which use tax dollars to generate more tourism.

But that can only happen when hotels pay, and records from the Jefferson County tax office show thirty hotels are delinquent with their hotel occupancy tax payments.

The worst are both in Groves, the Southwinds Inn and the Super 8.  Neither has paid since April of last year.

Both are owned by A.J. Patel.  We spoke to his son, Darshan.  Darshan Patel told us the situation is under control, and that he's talked to both the cities of Groves and Port Arthur about the delinquency.

Jefferson County Tax Assessor Shane Howard says his office is taking a more robust approach on cracking down on the delinquent hotels, and he says they could face prosecution.

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