House Republicans from Delaware County bucked their party Wednesday by voting to move a proposed Marcellus shale severance tax out of committee and onto the House floor, writes Rick Kauffman for the Delaware County Daily Times.
The move came after the introduction of a bill that would impose greater taxes on the hotel industry, estimated to generate about $96 million this year and $165 million next year, and that took the Pennsylvania tourism industry by surprise.
In Montgomery County, which touts a robust tourism industry that brought in $1.5 billion in revenue in 2016, supports nearly 20,000 jobs across intertwining industries of hotel, restaurant, shopping, gambling, golfing and a variety of others.
The countywide hotel tax rate of 4 percent is fed directly into the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board, which facilitates sales, marketing, labor, staffing and membership, the story continues.
“In Pennsylvania, we don’t get any money from the state, whereas other states support tourism,” said Mike Bowman, president and CEO of the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board. “From what we’ve been told, (the additional hotel tax) would go to the state to balance the budget.”
Bowman said the county did extremely well during the Pope Francis visit, the DNC and the NFL Draft, all thanks to robust advertising campaigns.
“If the tax becomes too high from a competitive standpoint, we’re going to lose,” Bowman said. “It would be a competitive disadvantage everywhere in the state of Pennsylvania for tourism.”
However, Wednesday the House failed to vote on the bill. Rather, House Democrats, aided by a selection of Southeastern Republicans voted on a discharge resolution to move the shale severance tax onto the floor for a vote.
To read the complete story click here.