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That’s a Stretch

OhNo2I once had a Mayor of a destination wink at me and say, "Son, you know that Hotel Tax is just funny money."

But, that's just it. It shouldn't be.

It is a punitive tax upon hoteliers that was initially sold as a fund to promote future visitation to a region. But, "original intent" means nothing to today's political leaders. So, they search for ways to redeploy the funds in ways that they can hide behind the law and laugh all the way to the next election.

I've witnessed a myriad of "honestly?" definitions in my 30 years in Destination Marketing. And, I'm pretty sure I just saw the most egregious definition yet last week.

County Commissioners in Mercer County WV approved the continuation of using Room Tax to fund the Library because the Library has a c0llection of  music CDs available for patrons to enjoy. Those CDs qualify as "promoting the arts," a permissible use of local Room Tax revenue. But, I'd be willing to bet that there isn't a single CD by a Mercer County artist in that collection. 

Another angle offered was that the Library curates history, thus it qualifies as a recipient of Room Tax revenue because it helps "preserve history." Another Commissioner opined that writing is also an art form that would make funding libraries appropriate under culture and the arts that are related to tourism appeal.

Oh, please.

But, congratulations Mercer County. You have succeeded in promoting the name of your destination across the country.

Because I'll refer to you to all my clients and audiences across the country as the destination with the worst abuse of Room Tax law in the land.


Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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