October 4, 2018
To: Members of the Pennsylvania Senate
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Re: Reject House Bill 1511
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our supporters across Pennsylvania, I urge you to reject House Bill 1511, which would impose a new tax on the use of Online Travel Agents (OTAs).
After being hit with 20 federal Obamacare tax increases over the last decade, the last thing your constituents need is to have lawmakers in Harrisburg pile on new or higher taxes at the state level.
OTAs – such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Kayak, just to name a few – attract travelers to certain cities and states by offering a variety of lodging options at competitive prices. As such, OTAs are great for restaurants, shops, and other local businesses, as they benefit from tourism.
However, HB 1511 would jeopardize this relationship, as it would force consumers to pay more when using OTAs by applying the sales tax to the service fees OTAs charge rather than only the hotel room rate.
Proponents of HB 1511 tout the measure as a way to squeeze more revenue from tourists and other out-of-state visitors, but in reality, this proposed tax hike would also harm Pennsylvania residents. Pennsylvanians traveling to another city in their home state would either be forced to pay more sales taxes when booking through an OTA, or they would have to book directly with the hotel, which is often more expensive. Further, HB 1511 would harm local business owners, as the higher cost of traveling to Pennsylvania would likely have a negative impact on tourism.
Rather than looking for new ways to separate the people of Pennsylvania from their hard-earned income, lawmakers should focus on the spending side of the ledger and reform government so that current revenue is spent responsibly.
ATR opposes HB 1511 and urges lawmakers to vote NO.
Americans for Tax Reform