Possible New State Hotel-Motel Tax Might Hurt Tourism Economy in Pocahontas County
Cara Rose, the Executive Director of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau, wants to alert the citizens of the county that there is legislation currently being considered in the West Virginia State House of Delegates which includes a new statewide hotel occupancy tax. She says adding a new tax on tourists could hurt the tourism economy of the entire state and hit us particularly hard in Pocahontas County, since such a large part of our local economy depends on tourism dollars pouring into the county.
Cara, can you explain your concerns with this new lodging tax being considered in the WV House of Delegates?
“This introduction of the possibility of a state hotel-motel tax was quite a surprise to the industry” said Rose. “We really weren’t expecting this to come up. It was introduced about two weeks ago as a secondary proposal to the Governor’s tax plan to reduce or eliminate personal income tax. The House introduced this bill along with a variety of other taxation strategies. One of them was to introduce a 4.3% statewide hotel-motel tax. And the (tourism) industry is opposed to this unequivocally because right now is not the time to add additional taxes to the tourism industry when we are just now rebounding from a pandemic. That would increase the guest’s costs to stay in West Virginia by 4.3%. That’s a magnificent increase, and it would not be returned to the local level. So, the industry is not supporting this.”
Cara, where does this new tax stand currently in the State Legislature?
“This is currently being read in the House on the floor, over the course of the next couple of days. So, we encourage everyone to oppose that hotel-motel tax increase on a state level.”
Do we have a bill number on that?
“3300, it is folded into the broader tax plan strategy. That it is there is a highlight on how they plan to offset that personal income tax. The tourism industry was hit hard by the pandemic and I believe for a destination like Pocahontas County that relies on the tourism economy, that could negatively impact our economy. So, again, it’s moving pretty fast, and hopefully, when this gets pushed back to the Senate, we will see that removed. But it behooves all of us who want to keep out tourism strong to oppose that statewide hotel-motel tax.”
So, citizens of Pocahontas County, you have just been informed and alerted about this possible new tax being considered in Charleston, which could make vacationing here more expensive for out-of-state tourists then it would cost them to vacation in our neighboring states.