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Business Travel Coalition Opposes Overriding Veto of Travel Tax

January 4th 2016

The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) strongly cautions Maryland lawmakers not to play politics with the state’s travel economy by overriding Governor Hogan’s veto of SB190, a new sales tax on the service fees charged by local travel agents, tour operators, and event planners. This new tax would be passed on to corporate, university and government travel departments along with significant new costs for legal obligations and accounting complexities, compliance requirements and audits. SB190 is a new tax on the services provided by local small businesses. Travel and meeting managers, including state government travel offices and state universities, are under great pressure to watch every penny of travel spend. All of these administrative costs would be on top of the new tax and would be translated into higher transaction fees from the travel agency to the travel department. As such, a double incentive would have been created to choose a less expensive destination than Maryland, if possible. If not possible, there would be less money to spend in Baltimore or Annapolis on restaurants, entertainment and other destination services adversely impacting jobs and economic activity. Not only would this bill result in downward pressure on demand for lodging properties of all sizes, it would do harm to Maryland’s 1,100 travel agencies most of which are small businesses whose owners are endeavoring to scratch out a living for themselves and their employees. BTC expects legislators will understand very well the incentive new taxes and administrative costs would provide organizations to reconsider the great state of Maryland as a business travel destination. Therefore, BTC strongly encourages lawmakers to vote against any veto override.


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