HB 4146C Increases Lodging Tax

Status of bill:https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2016R1/Measures/Overview/HB4146
This bill increases state transient lodging tax rate to 1.8% from the current 1%. Amendment C will reduce the tax to 1.5% on July 1, 2020. It requires Oregon Tourism Commission to spend 20% on regional cooperative tourism program, up from 15% and reduces funds for state tourism programs from 80 to 65% requiring that 10% be used for a competitive grant program that help develop and improve the economies of communities. Includes a work group to best spend the tax, making the tax unjustified.

Personal Choice
This is a tax that will hit low income families the most as they are more limited to vacation within the state. At nearly double the tax, it results in less choices for them.
Fiscal Responsiblity
This is a tax anticipated to cost $33,412,500 for 2015-17. Of that amount, Revenue retains 2% or $668,250 for administrative functions with the remainder of $32,744,250 distributed to the Commission. There is a point when increases only means more waste and bureaucracy and doesn’t increase the return. Requires commission to consider demonstrated return on investment, geographic equity and community support in funding state tourism programs and awarding competitive grants
Limited Government
The measure includes a work group lead by the Legislative Revenue Office to study polices related to the distribution of revenue for the regional cooperative tourism program. A study should take place first to justify the increase. The only specific need for the increase is to fund the 2021 World Outdoor Championships, which only needs a portion of the increase and is a one-time event meaning the amount of the increase is not justified.
Local Control
The increase will reduce the small leeway that local communities have to address their own tourism needs. State, county and city taxes can cumulatively impact a visitor's decision.
Free Markets
Our neighbors to the north and south have zero lodging tax. Increasing our rate may cause tourist to travel through our state but not stop for night. It will make Portland less competitive for meetings and conventions with comparable markets in Seattle, and San Francisco

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