At the last possible second, with session winding down and budget passage far in the rearview mirror, Pennsylvania legislators are considering tax hikes on anyone who books a hotel stay through a third party. The bill has now passed the Senate.
The bill is a tax hike that would hit online travel agents directly, driving up costs for consumers, and discouraging the very tourism it is supposed to promote by grabbing more hard-earned dollars from Pennsylvanians and visitors to the state.
Adding insult to injury, this is happening on the watch of Republican lawmakers.
Here’s why Pennsylvania Representatives should reject HB 1511:
1) There is no collection problem. That is bunk. This bill is a straight-up tax increase, and would violate the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Online Travel Agents (OTAs) – like Expedia, Travelocity, and others – make it easier for people to book hotels or other accommodations online. Taxes are already collected on the price these agents arrange with a hotel.
2) The bill would add the sales tax to the small service fee these platforms charge, which would add to the state’s tax burden, and still likely fail to meet revenue promises. This could also drive pressure for additional tax increases.
3) This tax hike would hit Pennsylvanians directly, when they move around their home state, tourists and out-of-state travelers, and anyone that books travel online – like a travel agent.
The House should reject this tax hike. You can tell your Representative NO last-minute tax hike. Find their contact information here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/.