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York County could get hotel tax increase

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People visiting and staying in York County could pay a little more for their hotel room. It could also mean more money invested in the counties tourism industry.

Representative Ron Miller (R) 93rd District introduced a bill that would give nine counties the power to increase their hotel tax, which is currently 3%. “Let me be clear, this is enabling legislation, it doesn’t raise the hotel tax, it just allows the county commissioners to enact an ordinance that would raise the room tax.”

York County Commissioners have expressed interest in raising the tax to 5% if the bill is passed.

“To bring people to York county, we have a lot to offer here but we don’t have some of the world-renowned draws that some of the other counties around us do,” said Rep. Miller. “We have to compete with Lancaster County, who has the Amish. Adams County has Gettysburg. To the Northeast of us we have chocolate and Hersheypark. So that county has a tremendous asset there. And the State Capitol in Harrisburg, all the state buildings, and we have to compete with Baltimore.”

“The increase in funding at 5% would go to the York Expo Center, four designated organizations (such as York County Heritage Trust), and a grant program,” said Anne Druck, President of the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Tourism Is a very important economic driver to our economy we spend over 850 million dollars a year in York county. In 2009 I believe our state grant was a high of $234,000 in a year. Those are marketing dollars so that is quite significant. This year we don’t have state funding so the room tax has become even more important local communities to market and sell their attractions and their destinations and bring in more visitor spending,” said Druck.

“All the promotion has to be done using locally generated room tax dollars. So to make up that difference and to be able to compete with the other counties the county commissioners see a need to be able to raise it,” said Rep. Miller.

Rep. Miller hopes to have the bill moved along next fall.