Haywood room tax hike just a bad idea

To the Editor:

I see the notion to hike the Haywood County bed tax by 50 percent has risen again. Some bad ideas just never die. 

The TDA leadership smells a way to boost their till, and like a kid and a cookie jar, they will not be denied. Thankfully we had individuals in the legislature like Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, who understand that raising taxes just because a few people want to is not a good enough reason to do so.

I thought we put this idea to rest in the last session. It was an ill-conceived idea to increase the TDA tax by 50 percent (from 4 cents to 6 cents per dollar). They said “we could do all sorts of great things if we could just boost the revenue by $450,000.” Mind you, that’s in addition to the nearly $1 million dollars they’re already collecting from innkeepers and lodge and cabin owners! 

What great things are you doing with that? Their stated reason was to, um, what was the stated reason again? I heard rumblings about building a baseball park. In Canton. Or an ice skating rink. Seriously? So you build a building, and baseball fields, and fences, and seating and parking areas. Who is going to pay the salaries and benefits to those for manning it? Maintaining it? Insuring it? The TDA?

That is not what the TDA charter was when it was created. Its purpose was to bring more tourists and lodging business into the county, primarily through marketing and advertising. If the county wants a baseball park, they should fund it from the general revenue (of which I am also opposed), not on the backs of inns and lodging business owners. News flash: Baseball teams from area cities are not tourists. Most of them pack coolers and eat off their tailgates. They're not big spenders for tourism. 

I want this TDA tax increase idea to die and stay dead. You’re already getting 4 percent of the gross income of every lodging business. That’s in addition to the 7 percent that’s already being collected (4.75 percent state, 2.25 percent county). Deal with it. If you insist on more taxation, let’s share the pain. You think I’m squealing? Let’s talk about a TDA restaurant plate tax. 

Larry Wright

Maggie Valley

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