Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hotel-Motel Tax - vote scheduled

Well, the state legislature gave our County Commissioners the ability to raise the hotel-motel tax by 2 percentage points after January it should come as no surprise that a meeting is scheduled for January 17th with two items on the draft agenda:

Tina Skeldon Wozniak
Pete Gerken
Ben Konop

January 17, 2007
10:00 AM

Draft Agenda

Call To Order

1. Approving Hotel/Motel Tax Code Regulations as Amended
2. Pursuant to Current Hotel/Motel Tax Code Regulations, Authorizing an Excise Tax Increase on Lodging Furnished by a Hotel/Motel for Transient Guests for the Purpose of Funding a Multi-Purpose Arena

Other Business

Open Discussion

Since this is just the draft agenda, it's unclear whether or not this is going to a vote of the public PRIOR to being implemented...but my guess is no - that they'll pass the additional tax and then hope that no one brings forth a referendum on the increase.

This will give Lucas County one of the highest lodging taxes in the country - with Monclova Township having the distinction of the HIGHEST lodging tax in the country. I read an interesting quote the other day - that government taxes what it wants to discourage. Wonder if our current board of commissioners understands this concept...

(For background on this issue and the questions about the overall financing of the arena, you can search this blog for various posts and view my archived post of Monday, August 21, 2006, "Questions on the arena financing plan.")

UPDATE: In checking the law, it appears that individuals interested in a referendum would have 30 days following the vote in which to gather 14,289 signatures (10% of the voters who voted in the last governor's race).


Karen said...

I have lived in the Toledo area most of my life, however, I did reside in the Cleveland area for 10 years during the mid-80s to mid-90s. Cleveland, under the appropriate leadership, resurrected itself -- especially it's downtown/warehouse district. They didn't do that by making it an inhospitable place to do business. Raising the cost of doing business discourages the very activity you are trying to build. They also rebuilt that district by bringing in businesses that would keep people downtown - first bars and restaurants, then clubs, theaters and shops. Only after making it a place where people wanted to be did they renovate historic buildings as residences. Because of the abundance and diversity of activites, the downtown hotels were generally booked - both sleeping rooms and meeting rooms.

There are few events/attractions that would bring folks to Toledo. There are fewer that require an overnight stay. An arena hosting a minor league team, the circus, an ice show, or a craft fair will likely not be pulling in many out-of-towners. If a company or function books an event in Toledo, say at Seagate, what do the participants do after the event concludes for the day? Where do they go? There's little to keep folks downtown after an event (does anyone remember Portside? The hotels within the Toledo city limits are, at best, tired. The type of events which will consider Toledo are limited because our lodging facilites are limited - both in quantity and quality.

Toledo is a geographically small town. It doesn't take more than 15 minutes to get to an outlying area that has newer facilities in safer areas and that now will have lower rates for those who need lodging.

This arena is destined to go the way of Portside. Icing on an unbaked cake. Toledo doesn't need an arena, it needs smart leadership.

Kate said...

Maggie - I had to delete my answer and start over. With cleaner language.

I have no doubt, after the way the townships were treated in the water agreement negotiations that the commissioners will pass this.

The hell with economic recovery in Lucas County - tax the constituents right into the ground!!!!

Unknown said...

Thirty days to gather almost 15,000 signatures, the only way it's going to happen is someone starts organizing the signature collection process.

Maggie said...

Karen - since you've lived here most of your life, you'll know that we operate under the 'build it and they will come' philosophy...

Kate - thanks for keeping it clean.

Lisa - guess that means that the hotel-motel owners need to get busy if they want to stop this...

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...

You know in a way it's funny, the selective blindness that government has as to what works, when it involves lowering taxes. . .

Kate said...

Well I guess today is the day. I see no way to avoid this....

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