Websites like Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity and Priceline can help us find hotels cheaper than booking through the hotel itself, but at the same time, these websites may be hurting our local tax base.
Online travel companies are trying to get federal lawmakers to pass an amendment that would prohibit state and local governments from taxing the full price of hotel rooms sold on their websites. If the online companies get their way, it could mean a hard hit for tourist-dependent places, like New Hanover County.
New Hanover County Tax Administrator Roger Kelley says the county brings in more than $7 million a year through the room occupancy tax based on $118 million in sales.
"If that number, that $118 million is reduced, than yes tourism, beach renourishment, the convention center, the county's municipalities will suffer from this," Kelley said.
Online travel companies typically buy hotel rooms in bulk at discounted rates, mark up the inventory for consumers, and then pocket the difference.
New Hanover County Commissioners passed a resolution last week that opposes any action that undermines the ability to collect the full share of room occupancy tax.