January 13, 2012
Editor: I was disappointed to read in the Jan. 6 edition of your paper that a hotel tax for Harford County may be dead on arrival in the upcoming legislative session in Annapolis. This past summer I traveled to neighboring states Virginia and Pennsylvania, and in each case was charged a nominal room tax on my hotel bill. This is common throughout the United States, and I believe Harford County is the only county in Maryland without such a tax. A reasonable hotel tax would provide much-needed revenue for local municipalities without increasing the tax liability for county residents, who are already burdened with dramatic toll increases, hikes in user fees and now a potential increase in the gas tax. While BRAC has benefited the state of Maryland at large, there's been little trickle-down to Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace.
January 12, 2012
Editor: Thank you for the support you have shown me as your State Delegate. After one year and many tough decisions, the hardest yet is the hotel tax legislation, which I've been opposed. Many Republicans now support it: County Executive David Craig, Senator Nancy Jacobs, Delegate Rick Impalaria, Mayor Dougherty. Because my first thought is for my constituents, I've been researching this issue tirelessly. Here are some points: • It's not a tax on Harford County citizens or hotels. • Businesses and hotel owners want it. • Harford County is the only county without one. • At least 75 percent would go toward local tourism. • Harford County citizens are for it. • Harford County citizens pay a lot in hotel fees in other counties/states.
November 23, 2011
Editor: I recently paid an Ocean City hotel a combined tax of 10.5 percent for an $89 room. A week later I paid a Connecticut hotel a state imposed tax of 15 percent on a $139 room. Twenty-two counties in Maryland charge a hotel tax. Harford does not. Yet here in Harford County our current delegation remains steadfastly opposed to introducing legislation that would bring a hotel room tax to Harford County. Once at the NAACP forum I spoke in favor of such a tax, even going so far as to state that I thought that any elected official who refused to seek revenue for the county in a manner which did not put a tax or financial burden on its citizens was, in my eyes, not doing their job. I feel even more strongly about this than I did then.
February 3, 2011
The old dictum that politics makes for strange bedfellows was rarely clearer than in the vote among Howard County's state delegates approving the Ulman administration's bill boosting local hotel room taxes from 5 percent to 7 percent. Allied in opposition were the delegation's most liberal member, Democratic Del. Elizabeth Bobo, and Republicans Dels. Gail H. Bates and Warren E. Miller, the two most conservative. Their reasons for opposing the measure were different, but led them to the same position.
February 2, 2011
Howard County's General Assembly delegation narrowly approved an increase in the local hotel room tax from 5 percent to 7 percent Wednesday. If the new rate is approved by the full General Assembly, Howard's tax would equal Anne Arundel's and be lower than Baltimore County and Baltimore City's. It would be higher than Carroll County's rate; Harford County has no hotel tax. The county's three senators split 2-1 in favor while the eight delegates voted 5-3 to approve the bill from County Executive Ken Ulman, but not before amending it to codify where the new revenue would go. All three Howard Republicans opposed the final bill, arguing that taxes should not go up, even though the hotel and tourism industry and the county Chamber of Commerce support the measure.
January 30, 2011
Howard County's state legislators are struggling to decide if the county's hotel room tax should rise to 7 percent from 5 percent, even though hotel owners are supporting the idea as a way to raise money for tourism and business promotion. If approved by the county's eight delegates and three state senators — and later by the full General Assembly — the higher rate would match Anne Arundel County's levy and still be lower than hotel taxes in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, though higher than in Carroll and Harford counties.