New York City considers hotel tax hike

Tourists may soon have to pay a little extra to stay in New York City hotels as the city is considering a hike in hotel taxes by 5.8 or 6 percent in order to raise $30 million for cultural institutions, fire companies and teacher jobs in the next fiscal year ending June 2012, according to the New York Daily News. That means a tiny increase to a hotel guest’s overnight bill– about a 60-cent hike on $300-per-night room.

“That’s nary a penny,” said Lew Fidler, a Brooklyn Councilman and avid supporter of the tax proposal. “Not a penny of this would come out of the pocket of New Yorkers,” he continued.

However, hotel proprietors say any increase to taxes will deter visitors and reduce tourism. “It has been proven time and time again,” said Joseph Spinnato, president of the Hotel Association of New York.

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Either way, the proposal would require a shift in state legislation. At the moment, City Council can increase hotel taxes but the money raised by that tax must exclusively serve the city’s tourism agency.

While Mayor Michael Bloomberg has opposed raising taxes during this budget round, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin confirmed there had been discussions about the hotel tax when asked at a budget hearing on Monday. [NYDN]