Saturday, July 19, 2003

Hotel industry fights bed-tax increase

The Associated Press

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Motel-hotel operators are mobilizing against a possible increase in the lodging tax to benefit the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

Commissioners in Mahoning County, which includes Youngstown, and adjacent Warren and Trumbull County are considering increasing the tax.

Recently passed legislation allows communities with airports to increase bed taxes to pay for airport operations.

Some hotel/motel owners have complained that the proposed increase would push the taxes charged for hotel rooms to 15 percent.

Only Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus have higher taxes in Ohio, said Barton Hacker, a spokesman for the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association, which will represent hotels in opposing the tax increase.

Hacker said if the tax is raised, many travelers may decide to stay in hotels in nearby Pennsylvania. Tom Lyden, director of the Mahoning Visitors Bureau, said the tax in Pennsylvania is about 7 percent.

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