Proposals in four states that would have increased taxes on travel agencies have been dropped, which ASTA estimates will save agencies nearly $63 million a year.

ASTA launched grassroots campaigns against proposals in Illinois, Maine, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was the last of the four to remove an agent tax from its budget on Oct. 30, ASTA said.

ASTA said "vague wording" made it difficult to determine the exact impact the taxes would have had on agencies. For instance, Maine and Pennsylvania said the tax would be levied on "travel arrangement and reservation services." The Society estimated it would have cost agencies in Illinois $22.2 million per year in new taxes, $994,000 in Maine, $23.2 million in Ohio, and $16.2 million in Pennsylvania.

Because of ASTA's grassroots campaigns in the four states, legislators received hundreds of advocacy messages from agents led by ASTA chapter presidents Jesse Guerra (Midwest), Andy Holmes (Maine), Claudia Darling (Mid America) and multiple members in Pennsylvania.

"Expanding state sales taxes to travel agency services would have been devastating to our industry, and in defeating these proposals in four states -- guided by headquarters -- ASTA members have set the gold standard for grassroots engagement," said Eben Peck, ASTA executive vice president of advocacy. "We applaud both their efforts and these state legislators' decisions to drop these proposals from their budgets."


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