“It’s Hotel/Motel Time!”
There was a terrific editorial in Friday’s St. Louis Business Journal about proposals in Clayton and Richmond Heights to institute a local hotel tax on top of the regional convention and tourism tax. I agree with every word in it regarding the hotel tax proposals. (I have a tiny quibble with how they relate the Centene story; I think Clayton and the city of St. Louis were both equally at fault there.)
Here are two outstanding points made by the Business Journal:
There’s an incentive for doing business in the city. The Ritz, located in Clayton, might just turn its marketing program over to the Four Seasons downtown or the Chase in the Central West End.
For Clayton to claim it will spend the additional tax on tourist-related activities, such as the Clayton Art Fair, is backward logic. We’re going to spend money to woo out-of-towners so we can gouge them? There’s a marketing plan.
You may not be able to see the full story online because of the subscriber paywall, but you should definitely check out the entire piece this week if you have access. There is a name for this type of taxation policy: “Welcome, Stranger.” It is poor policy to balance city general budgets via selective tax increases instead of through spending reductions.
P.S. — There are only about 20 people in the world who might understand the reference in the title of this blog entry, but half of them read this blog, so I figured I’d go for it.