Council should not add 3 percent accommodations tax

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By Charles Seng

The report in Nov. 7 edition of The Lancaster News regarding Lancaster County Council’s misguided discussion and first approval vote on an ordinance to charge a 3 percent accommodations tax to hotel and motel visitors shows there are only two members of the council who have the necessary business and community sense needed to provide proper representation to citizens of Lancaster County.

Only councilmen Bryan Vaughn and Wayne Kersey had the good sense to vote against it.

This proposed ordinance for such a wrongheaded, unnecessary and potentially devastating tax on future hotel and motel business in Lancaster County was a totally wrong effort by Council. What were they all thinking? Hasn’t Lancaster County suffered enough financial reverses the past few years without the Council thinking up another method of further reversing the fortunes of businesses in Lancaster County?

It was also disappointing to see a councilman justify such a tax by using the lame argument that many other areas charge an accommodation tax. This member then unbelievably asked other council members if they remembered what the accommodations tax was at the last place they visited and commented in essence, this is our way of getting our money back.

Is this the kind of business thinking that goes on in Lancaster County Council?

It sounds more like the type of thinking that goes on in the U.S. Congress by politicians, who think the way to make things better in the U.S. is to have higher taxes.

Pointing out that other areas charge an accommodations tax also naively ignores the devastating economic and financial effects suffered by Lancaster County during the past few years due to the loss of many thousands of jobs by the failure of Springs to maintain a presence in the county, as much as ruining the economic future of Lancaster County for the foreseeable time.

So, naturally, Lancaster County Council wants to put another devastating impediment in the way of the hotel and motel businesses in Lancaster County.

If I hadn’t read this report, I wouldn’t believe that any thinking persons could have used this kind of reasoning in an attempt to secure additional tax funds for the county.

I hereby plead with council members that they immediately cease discussions about this accommodations tax and remove it from their future agenda and discussions.

Charles V. Seng