Hotel tax increase could be removed from house bill

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In a surprise move, state house leaders cancel next week’s session.

State republicans say it’s because there aren’t enough votes to pass house bill 1177.

The bill would add a $2 tax to cigarettes in Philadelphia.

As the bill is currently written, it would also include a hotel tax and improvement zone project for York County.

But local leaders are worried this could change – and hurt York County.

A spokesman for house majority leader, Mike Turzai says when session resumes a house committee plans to remove a hotel tax and revitalization project from the bill.

“I oppose taking those out because those are things important to York County, York City – job creation here in York County,” says Representative Stan Saylor, a republican representing the 94th legislative district.

Those for the bill say the revitalization project would boost the city of York’s economy, creating jobs, and the current 3% hotel tax would increase to 5% for those who stay in York County hotels.

That money would go toward promoting tourism.

But it’s not just York County that would implement a hotel tax if the bill is passed.

Schuylkill, Franklin, and Bucks Counties would do the same.

Representative Saylor says the current tax is putting York County at a disadvantage.

“Adams County has it, Lancaster County has it, Dauphin County has it, why shouldn’t York County have it? (so all the neighboring counties have it?) All the neighboring counties have it,” says Saylor.

Saylor says Turzai wants to get rid of the tax because he’s opposed to tax increases.

FOX43 tried to reach Representative Turzai for comment but he didn’t respond.

“I understand, I’m opposed to taxes as well but any money that is generated by non-York Countians to help York County is a positive thing,” says Saylor.

Governor Tom Corbett wants the bill to pass but without the hotel tax and revitalization project Saylor wants.

“Let me make it clear I believe that bill ought to run and it ought to run clean – just the bill – no attachments, just the tax authorization,” says Governor Corbett.

If that’s the case, the bill would only include a cigarette tax in Philadelphia.

That revenue would go toward improving the city’s schools.

The governor has plans to meet with house republican leaders to discuss this issue on Monday, August 4th.