Posted on: September 17, 2012
No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, we think you'll agree that a fundamental feature of any tax system ought to be fairness. In travel, that means the gift shop across the street from the cruise terminal should charge the same sales tax as the drugstore downtown.
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Thankfully, our experience has been that they do.
But the fairness pretty much ends there. As we all know, and as the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has documented once again, the local taxes that travelers pay for lodging, meals and car rentals are often significantly higher than the prevailing general sales tax rates for other goods and services.
According to the organization's latest survey of the top 50 U.S. destinations, the travel-related taxes are 57% higher, and that's up a point from last year.
The GBTA has taken to using the word "discriminatory" to refer to these tax rates, and the description is apt.
This problem won't go away until we get a new generation of politicians willing to tell their constituents to stop taxing the other guy and pay their own way.
In other words, this problem won't go away.