Saratoga County wants to collect hotel taxes it thinks its due
Saratoga County is looking to draft legislation to collect hotel tax revenue it's missing out on. YNN's C.J. Spang has the story.
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SARATOGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Tourism is big business in Saratoga Springs and when people visit, they often stay in hotels.
"We have a performing arts center, we have a race track, we have many hotels in Saratoga Springs and clearly we're the engine that drives hotel occupancy tax for the county," said Michele Madigan, Saratoga Springs Finance Commissioner.
Some officials believe the county should be getting more from that tax because online travel companies like Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity pay the tax based on the wholesale prices they pay, rather than the retail price the consumer pays. The county is looking at legislation requiring the tax to be paid on the retail price instead of the wholesale price.
"If more and more is not being allocated to the county, then there goes our stream of funds to be able to adequately fund promotion and tourism and economic development, and stimulate our economy on a local level," said Clifton Park Supervisor Anita Daly.
Currently the county collects a one percent occupancy tax and the City of Saratoga Springs collects an additional five percent. That additional five percent goes to the city's general fund, the city center and to the convention and tourism bureau.
Last year, the total occupancy tax collected in the county was about $2.8 million with more than 90 percent of it in Saratoga Springs.
"In the scheme of things, I think it's a lot of money. And we don't want to be leaving money on the table," said Madigan.
County officials say the legislation could be approved as early as this August.