Updated: Jan 6
The Press Democrat
December 27, 2020
A harmful tax
EDITOR: The Board of Supervisors’ approval of a ballot measure for a four percentage point increase on west county lodging facilities is unfair, discriminatory, based on misleading statistics and would result in unfavorable unintended consequences.
It would apply only to west county lodging, thus discriminating against west county and unfairly throwing those lodgings under the bus. Travelers will likely choose other areas of Sonoma County, or even go to Napa County or Marin County. This may result in a drop in overall transient-occupancy tax revenue from west county. It also may cause lodging operators to lower prices to remain competitive, go underground or even go out of business.
The tax ostensibly would support the West County Union High School District and two west county fire districts. According to the county, up to 80% of fire department calls in the coastal area are to assist visitors. That’s probably true. However, the statement is misleading and, I believe, deliberately deceptive. The implication is obvious. I suggest most “visitors” are locals who go home after a day at the beach or wine tasting, not guests in west county lodgings.
Basically, this tax will have a significant negative impact on west county tourism and the commercial elements it supports.
Please vote no.