From the office of Del. B. Dan Riley:
I am introducing HB 669, a hotel tax for Harford County. We are the only county in Maryland without this vital tax stream. Each year the county loses tax revenues not paid for by Harford Countians but usually paid for by those living outside of Harford County.
The following chart shows the amount of tax dollars we lose each year:
60% occupancy rate $1,380,000.00 $2,300,000.00
70% occupancy rate $1,600,000.00 $2,600,000.00
80% occupancy rate $1,900,000.00 $3,100,000.00 ($ figures rounded off)
At present, we have over 2,750 hotel/motel rooms available in Harford County. In the next two years, over 300 additional rooms will come on board. With easy access to I95, Aberdeen Proving Ground and BRAC, Ripkin Stadium and other tourist attractions, Harford County is a hotel magnet.
Loss revenues due to the lack of a hotel tax, can be used to address:
– Furloughs and layoffs
– Promote our tourism industry which will create much needed jobs
– Pay for Aberdeen’s financial responsibilities concerning Ripken Stadium
– Senior Citizen programs
The hotel tax will not affect the per diem rate. The per diem rate is actually based on the Average Daily Rate (ADR) of a specific set of hotels. The federal per diem is critical to Harford County’s hospitality industry since approximately 40% of our lodging business is government related travel. In Harford County our ADR is approximately $77.00. Our per diem rate is $83.00. Many of our hotels complain about the low per diem rate which is low compared to other jurisdictions. This is merely a reflection of our hotel industry.
At this time, we have many new properties that can charge up to $150.00 per night. An $83.00 per diem rate is low for these new properties who are bearing the burden of a low ADR driven down by the low end properties that charge $60.00 – $70.00 per night. We have several properties that offer incentives and meal credits that also drive down the ADR.
A lodging tax is passed on to the traveler, and aside from costs administering the tax, it is mostly absorbed by the traveler.
Please contact your State Delegates and State Senators to support this bill. The last time I put in a similar bill, it was killed in the Senate by an unfriendly amendment.
The hearing for HB 664 – Harford County – Authority to Impose a Hotel Rental Tax is scheduled on February 18, 2010 at 1:00pm in Ways and Means.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
B. Daniel Riley
State Delegate, District 34A