Pillow tax would raise hotel tax to 5% in York County

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Supporters hope this is the year a debate over taxes at hotels is put to bed. State lawmakers from York County want to increase the hotel tax from 3% to %5. They say it’s a way to raise more money without having to tax everyone living in the county. Republican State Representative Keith Gillespie plans to reintroduce legislation that would increase hotel tax.

“Get this thing to Governor Wolf’s desk to get it signed,” said Gillespie.

It has the support of County Commissioners, the State Visitors Bureau, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

“It’s pretty unusual that you find a sector of the business community that wants to increase their own tax but that’s where we stand,” said Eric Menzer, of the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The goal is to collect more money for tourism. County Commissioner Doug Hoke says the pillow tax is something he asked for nearly 5 years ago.

“York is a great place to come and visit and stay and then travel to all the different places around the community,” said Hoke.

The York Expo Center will host about 1300 events this year. Pillow Tax supporters say the potential tax money wouldn’t just help bring people here, but it would also help pay the mortgage on the Utz Arena.

“We need to give them a healthy stream of money to make sure they can maintain their facilities so we can have all these events here in York,” said Hoke.

Hoke says increasing the tax could produce an extra $900,000 a year in York County. That would help pay the arena’s $76,000 monthly mortgage fee. But, if passed, it wouldn’t just impact York County. The bill would also give 54 other Pennsylvania counties the option to increase their hotel tax to 5%.

“Tourism is an incredible industry for York County, it’s an incredible industry for our commonwealth,” said Rep. Kevin Schreiber.