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Travel sites a threat to tax base

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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.

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I thought..

these sites used cancellations or unbooked rooms to fill the requests. In any case they help hotels book as much as possible. Anybody know? If this is the case then a booked room, even at a lesser cost is better than it just sitting idle. It is better for the business for sure to book as many as possible. Who is actually crying here? I suspect our wonderful council members would not like this since it cuts into "their tax" money. Oh wait! They don't care if they have the money to spend or not!!! What was I thinking?!

1% of something is better than 100% of nothing isn't it?

Easily Remedied

Just charge anyone from North of the Mason-Dixon line double. Heck, they do it to us!

Funding bureaucracy or jobs?...

So they can pay sales tax on the full price, handing the money directly to the government where it will disappear into the black hole...

OR

...they can have more money to spend while they're here, funding small businesses, jobs, and STILL giving money to the government via sales tax on food and goods they purchase while here.

Time and time again we see the same lesson repeated through economic history: Lower taxes lead to increased growth and that leads to higher tax revenue.

(From a legal point of view, it can be argued that the county is entitled to no more occupancy tax than would be assessed upon the price paid by the travel website. The minute the hotel sets a reduced price on a room, whether to an on-line travel website or an individual customer, that new price is the cash value of the transaction.)

I AGREE

THE COUNTY AND STATE WANT EVERY DIME WE MAKE.
WY NOT MAKE UP A JOB FOR YOUR SELF. TO RAISE MONEY. LIKE SALE FLAGS, BIBLES,MAPS. HAVE CONCERTS WHERE ALL THE FUNDS GO TO THE COUNTY AND STATE. WY CANT YOU DO WHAT THE PEOPLE DO? WORK!!! THE GOV ALLWAYS HAS ITS HAND OUT.
WY DONT THE GOV. OPEN ITS OWN BARS, CONCERT HALLS, FOOTBALL STADIOMS ECT.
HAVE PEOPLE THAT WORK FOR THE STATE COUNTY CITY RUN THE BIZZ? PAY THE PEOPLE THAT RUN IT FOR YOU. ALL THE REST GOES TO THE STATE, COUNTY, CITY.
YOU WILL MAKE A LOT MORE MONEY FOR YOUR SELVES THEN COLLECTING TAXES ,THEN THE PEOPLE WILL LOOK AT THE STATE, COUNTY, CITY AS A FRIEND. INSTED OF A EVIL BILL COLLECTER THAT JUST TAKES FROM ITS PEOPLE.