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
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,"
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
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.