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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Come see the Columbia Gouge... er, I mean Gorge

As expected, the Portland City Council passed the hotel occupancy tax increase today -- $3 a night on a $150 room. But only in big hotels. And the money will be handed over to something called a "public-private agency." Never heard of that one before -- but the smell is familiar. Somebody's nephew with a p.r. firm is about to get some nice make-work.

Travel Portland will use the funds to enhance marketing efforts and raise the city’s visibility with out-of-state visitors.

The new fee applies to hotels with 50 [or] more rooms and is not levied on emergency shelters or people traveling on government business.

And how will the hotel operator know whether visitors are traveling "on government business"? Take the traveler's word or it? Better hire a few more city bureaucrats to check up.

Comments (11)

This is an old report but the philosophy still applies. "Private businesses and tourism organizations have great incentives to promote tourism themselves, and they will likely do a better job than government agencies if allowed to do so."


And that's going to encourage more visitors to come stay in our hotels.....?

My beef is that there are better things to do with the tax revenue. Why does the hotel industry get to micromanage where the taxes on its customers are spent? No other business gets to do that. Take the 2% and give it to the schools, or the cops, or anything but more mindless flacks and dopey brochures.

There are two Americas - the public and the government-paid "public" that lords over them.

I think the Fred Meyers, the Safeways, the Albertsons, the WinCos and the Costcos need to form a "public-private partnership", and be able to siphon off a portion of the taxes they pay to go to the "Portland Grocer's Marketing Association" to encourage regional residents to do their grocery shopping within Portland city limits and not in Beaverton, Tigard, Milwaukie or Gresham or even Vancouver.

Then the Targets, the (one) WalMart, Freddy's and Costco can form another marketing agency to encourage more Portland shopping...

The Portland car dealers, the Portland gas stations...just think of all of the taxes that can be repurposed.

Eric-- that's one part of the plastic bag ban bill that failed in the legislature last year. $.05 mandatory fee on paper bags to be paid to the retailer.

I see Corvallis just passed such a ban including a $.05 mandatory fee. Did they sleep through the norovirus story last month?


No one speaks up for the visitor. I can't visualize a benefit I've received from those tourism taxes I've paid. I see some advertisements in magazines and some not-so-clever television commercials, but nothing that has ever, ever, made me chose to go somewhere (and pay more of those taxes.) What's missing is an actual tourism taxpayer to say "This is not a good idea."

In fact, if I know there are high hotel and rental car taxes, that destination moves down the priority list. Believe it or not, there is a competitive advantage to lower taxes. (What a thought, huh?)

Enjoy the brochures and magazine advertisement.

How about as expected, the Portland City Council passed the ___________________ tax increase today.

How bad is it really down there? They must be spending a lot of time figuring out a list of what they can get by with taxing next.

Portland city council: sock puppets for industry...

I'll help the hotel industry get started on the first come to Portland pitch:

> Downtown is more fun than a Gallager show, but the watermelon just might be your head. In fact, we guaranty a flash mob within blocks of your hotel.

> Great beer and you have your choice - give your change to the bartender or the horde of beggars at your sidewalk table.

> And what could be more appetizing with your fresh local cuisine than ratty bikes, tatty tats, and unfinished bunker bits lazily drifting into your carefully prepared, if not seriously over-priced, and quite tiny platelets?

If some Portlanders don't like what the scene has turned into downtown,
how does it appear to tourists?
I am sure the word spreads.

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