ASTA is again fighting a proposed sales tax expansion in Ohio that would affect travel agents.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has proposed an increase in the sales tax (from 5.75% to 6.25%) as well as applying the sales tax to a handful of service industries, including travel agents.

During a press call on Tuesday, ASTA senior vice president of government affairs Eben Peck said it is unclear if the sales tax would be on gross bookings, service fees, commissions or something else.

"All we know is that this would be bad, and this would put travel agents in Ohio at a pretty substantial disadvantage to their competitors in neighboring states that don't have this tax on their services," he said.

Also unclear is why travel agents are included in the list of services to be taxed, Peck said, listing the others: lobbying, repossession services, cable, cosmetic surgery, landscape design and interior design.

"We're concerned about being singled out like this," he said.

Ohio introduced similar measures in 2013 and 2015 that had been fought successfully, Peck said. He noted that in those proposals, over 100 service industries were identified to be taxed, versus the handful picked out this year.

ASTA has organized a grassroots campaign against the measure in the state, asking members to call and write to legislators. The Society is also working with its Mid-America Chapter and has joined a coalition of services that would be taxed if the expansion is approved.

"We're going to fight it again, and we're hopeful that this goes away," Peck said.

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