ASTA Takes the Maryland Hotel Tax Fight to the Governor's Office
This guest post comes to us from ASTA vice president of communications Jennifer Michels:
Zane Kerby, ASTA President and CEO (pictured above), and Eben Peck, SVP, Government & Industry Affairs, journeyed to Annapolis, MD this week to argue against legislation (SB 190) that would hit “accommodations intermediaries” with new taxes. ASTA was invited to the State House by the staff of Governor Larry Hogan (R), who is considering whether or not to sign SB 190 into law.
ASTA and its members (including Jay Ellenby of Safe Harbors Travel, Karen Dunlap of Travel-On and Larry Swerdlin of Burton Travel) have been fighting since February against the bill, which would subject the fees charged by travel agents for facilitating Maryland hotel bookings to the state’s six percent sales tax, as well as adding new administrative burdens for agencies.
In a strongly worded letter to the Governor sent on April 20, Zane said, “As you consider SB 190, you will have to ask yourself whether to voluntarily take a step that will make Maryland a less competitive travel and tourism destination from both the consumer’s and the travel agent’s perspective. ... Imposing a six percent sales tax on this revenue amounts to ‘triple taxation’ and creates a disincentive for agents to spend their time and resources to bring people to the State of Maryland ... this is a new tax and should be treated as such in accordance with your campaign pledges.”
As staff indicated that the Governor will make a decision on the bill in the next three weeks, Maryland members and all ASTA members are strongly encouraged to register their opposition through ASTA’s grassroots portal.
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