Regional Chamber and Visit Erie Swift to Oppose Hotel Tax Hike I - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Regional Chamber and Visit Erie Swift to Oppose Hotel Tax Hike Idea

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Hotel tax idea meets opposition Hotel tax idea meets opposition

Word that some state lawmakers wanted an increase in Pennsylvania's hotel tax to try and generate new revenue was met with swift opposition.

Here in Erie, both the Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership and Visit Erie came out against it. Their leadership started working the phones last night as soon as the idea popped up, wrapped into a package of revenue proposals.

Some state lawmakers hoped to hike the state hotel tax  from 6% to 11%. All of that money generated would go into the PA general fund, and not tourism promotion.  When  you add that to the 7% local hotel tax, those staying in hotels here would pay a total of 18%.  Bob Oliver, President of Visit Erie said that would have a negative ripple effect into restaurants and other attractions, and would deter the tourism and convention business. "Our hotel tax, if this were to occur, would go from 13% to 18%, it would make Erie one of the highest taxed cities in the country, which is going to discourage visitors, particularly when you're looking at conventions that are looking at other locations and that comes into play," Oliver said.

While the Harrisburg spin is that it would impact only people from outside the state the Regional Chamber, disagrees, they believe it would hurt businesses across the board. "It impacts their bottom line, because they are bringing in business travelers, students, alumni those who are getting medical care and they're a large portion of those people who attend conventions and rent hotel rooms," said Barbara Chaffee, President and CEO of the Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership.

Tourism organizations across Pennsylvania stepped up in opposition to the idea.  At the end of the day, State Representative Pat Harkins in Harrisburg told us there were not enough votes on either side of the aisle to support the proposed revenue package.  It was not expected to come to the House floor for a vote.

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