Thursday, October 24, 2013

Vote yes on room tax, but ...

Room taxes should be low at this joint
And, it's a big but.

By state law, no doubt written by the lodging lobby, 70 percent of the room tax collected in the state goes back to lodging industry so that it can promote itself.

Wouldn't it be great for all businesses if most of the taxes they pay are refunded back to them in some way?

Yes, but it would be lousy for the livability of this state.

Also, in this election, the other 30 percent would go to police and fire departments, no doubt to shore up their PERS accounts, and to the arts.

That's right, no money for road repair, which is the primary impact that tourists have on the region.

The two room tax measures on the ballot, one for Bend and one for Deschutes County would incrementally increase the daily room tax at motels and hotels.

In Bend, it would rise from 9 percent to 10 percent and then to 10.4 percent. In the county it would rise from 7 percent to 8 percent.

Naturally, the local motel and hotel operators are up in arms. They, and no one else, believe that tourists plan their vacations or trips around the amount of room tax they'll have to pay.

Talk about ignorance. The money collected benefits them.

Also, it shows what a shady industry the lodging business is when it needs the government to collect dues for its own promotional campaigns.

Of course, people are opposed to this modest increase in taxes the same way they are to incremental tax hikes to beer, alcohol, wine, cigarettes, etc.

In fact, by having lower taxes on vices in Oregon, it means that taxes on property and income continue to climb.

We have no sales tax so government funding will always be a problem in this state.

Anyway, it would be surprising to see these measure pass.

If they do, perhaps the tourism promotion entities will showcase our fine potholes. They're some of the best in the west.

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