We support the existing local option lodging tax law that is limited to travel and tourism promotion and oppose any proposal for a statewide lodging tax
- The local option lodging tax raises almost $10 million statewide each year and has worked well as a source of revenue for local travel and tourism promotion.
- The local option lodging tax (on top of the normal county sales tax) is earmarked for local travel and tourism promotion only and is voted on every four years. This is an economic development tax and confined to promotional activities to INCREASE local revenues by INCREASING visitors.
- The law specifies that the tax should be used for travel and tourism promotion by the county or city approving the tax and is limited to promotional materials, television and radio advertising, printed advertising, promotion of tours and other specific tourism related objectives. None of the lodging tax revenues can be used for capital construction or improvements.
- Sales tax from lodging (hotels, motels, campgrounds, etc.) only makes up 18% of the tax dollar netted from travelers. The best source for funding community development is the general local option sales tax that covers all visitor expenditures.It is unfair to load the entire burden of funding capitol construction or improvements on one segment that only gathers 18% of traveler spending.
- Wyoming’s tax on a room can and has reached the 10% mark in some communities.Research shows total room taxes above 10% discourage extra traveler spending.Lodging businesses in Wyoming are assessed the county sales taxes PLUS any optional lodging tax passed by the city or county.
- Local lodging tax boards believe if additional taxes are imposed at the state level, it is possible the tax could be defeated by voters in local lodging tax renewal elections required every 4 years. If Wyoming’s tax is high enough to make it non-competitive with surrounding states, the local tax is also in danger of being defeated.
- Local boards, appointed by the county and/or city, oversee the spending of lodging tax revenues to promote their local areas. WTIC and the state of Wyoming’s Travel and Tourism agency make sure the local and state program results are maximized through constant communication.
- A study by the American Economics group in 2008 found that high room taxes can adversely affect travel revenue by shortening visitor’s stay and by reducing spending in retail stores, food establishments and other businesses.