Thursday, January 29, 2009

Close the loophole!

Since the state--after blindsiding local cities and towns with a mid-year retroactive Local Aid cut of sizable proportions--is now talking about local option meals taxes, and increases in the hotel/motel tax to raise additional millions to soften next Fiscal year's even more devastating Local Aid cuts, could we finally do what ‘Special Committee to Recommend Mitigation for Local Aid Cuts’, chaired by Amherst resident State Senator Stan Rosenberg (an indefatigable Umass supporter) clearly stated W-A-Y back in 2003:

“Eliminate UMASS Amherst Campus Center's exemption from hotel motel tax (that tax doesn't cost the state anything, doesn't cost the university anything, shouldn't be an edge in competition against local hotels / motels). This could be a significant ($70,000+) help to Amherst.”

And those were of course 2003 dollars at the old tax rate. So if the increase does go into effect and factoring in inflation this could easily provide Amherst with an addition $100-K annually.

If the Campus Center Hotel, after a $9.2 million renovation (at taxpayer expense) wants to compete with private sector, taxpaying operations in the Valley (mostly run by Amherst native Curt Shumway) let them compete on a level playing field.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a cement cube dorm with carpet, not a hotel. Don't you just love that rugged rustic cement look.

-Ryan Willey

LarryK4 said...

Indeed, kind of like a basic Russian hotel (or military barracks)

Neil said...

If the Campus Center Hotel ... wants to compete with private sector, taxpaying operations in the Valley ... let them compete on a level playing field.

Room tax is paid by the hotel guest, not the hotel.

Competition is not the issue. Tax revenue is.

In addition to room tax, are you saying UMass may be responsible for property tax (on the hotel) too?

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, that is exactly what Umass is worried about.

If the hotel is strictly used to shelter folks coming to campus for Umass business then fine, just as when the new $50 million Recreation Center opens as long as they only allow Umass students then fine.

But when you start targeting the general public that an entirely different story.

Amherst College, a tax-exempt, owns The Lord Jeff--and back when they were in business they paid both the local hotel/motel tax AND Amherst property taxes at the same rate as any homeowner.

Anonymous said...

The hotel is an educational facility for the students studying the hospitality industry.

LarryK4 said...

Gee, and last year the Campus Center Hotel generated $1 million dollars in revenues.

Too bad the Daily Collegian (students studying the journalism industry) did not do that well.

Ed said...

I have a simple and quite equitable solution - make the UMass campus into a state reservation (like the Quabbin). End of all of this.

The problem with taxing the hotel is that it is a trust fund with bonds, it would be like taxing the Pike.

Anonymous said...

"Gee, and last year the Campus Center Hotel generated $1 million dollars in revenues.

Too bad the Daily Collegian (students studying the journalism industry) did not do that well."

Just goes to show which field is worth going into.

LarryK4 said...

You got that right (but the same could be said for Emergency Services teachers or the military)

Anonymous said...

Hi Larry,
Do you have any idea when the town's complaint webpage will be working again? I left a message on the town managers voicemail about uncleared sidewalks on Longmeadow Dr. and they are still buried. Didn't he say somewhere to call him until its working?

LarryK4 said...

Yeah he did.

But I'm sure he now gets a fair amount of complaint calls (most likely what overwhelmed the webpage system as well).

Probably be quite a while before you see the web based system in action again (if it ever really was)

Anonymous said...

"(mostly run by Amherst native Curt Shumway) let them compete on a level playing field."

Sounds like the playing field is tilted towards Shumway who has a virtual monopoly.

LarryK4 said...

A well-earned "monopoly."

I still remember a Umass Journalism professor (who I believe is now head of the department) saying 20 years ago he liked the idea of Amherst "bringing down the price of golf" by buying Cherry Hill and subsidizing operations at taxpayer expense.

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