BTC Opposes Louisiana Taxation Measure

‘Hospitality’ Tax Inhospitable to Business Travelers

Increased Taxation of Business Travel Activities a Dangerous Precedent

RADNOR, Pa., May 31 /PRNewswire/ — The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today announced strong opposition to a sweeping travel and tourism tax measure recently introduced in the Louisiana State Legislature that would increase the cost of business travel activities within the State and establish a dangerous national precedent.

Louisiana House Bill 809 would impose a new occupancy tax on “hospitality providers” related to the booking of hotel room stays, ostensibly to fund annual payment obligations to the New Orleans Saints. BTC believes such unprecedented taxation of online and brick and mortar intermediaries’ services, which would largely be passed on to travelers, would generate negative consequences for Louisiana tourism and harbor profound implications for the business travel industry, and the customers who finance it.

Kevin Mitchell, Chairman of BTC stated, “The new Louisiana tax on travel distributors will inevitably and inhospitably increase the cost of hotel rooms. These costs will be passed on to business travelers and those organizations that would otherwise send conventions to the State. These individuals and groups don’t vote in Louisiana, but they may well vote with their wallets and feet.”

According to BTC, corporations that fund business travel activities already suffer under the weight of unfair taxes that are imposed because it’s easier to assess them against business travelers who don’t vote in a city instead of city residents who do. Travel managers do not want this to spin out of control like rental car taxes where tax rates can be increased by any municipality wanting to fund a new sports complex on the backs of non-resident business travelers. To now propose funding the sports teams that play in these stadiums through unrelated new “hospitality” taxes is irresponsible and counterproductive for all parties.

Increases in taxes decrease demand for travel and tourism services. The State of Louisiana is poised to lose substantial revenue — and important multiplier effects throughout its economy — a fact the sponsors of the measure do not yet seem to fully understand. Less business travel activity leads to 1) fewer dollars pumped into local economies, 2) lower overall tax revenues and 3) lost jobs — a triple whammy for the people of Louisiana. With corporations examining every travel dollar, elected officials in Louisiana are giving them good reason to go elsewhere, according to the Coalition.

Founded in 1994, the mission of the Business Travel Coalition is to lower the long-term cost structure of business travel. BTC seeks to bring transparency to industry and government policies and practices so that customers can influence issues of strategic importance to them.

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