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Opinion

June 20, 2014

In Our Opinion: Bed tax grab not right solution

It’s not surprising that city of Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller, village of Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz and town of Oneonta Supervisor Bob Wood are looking to wring some more money out of the tourist trade. 

Each of these municipalities plays host to scores of visitors each summer as visitors flock to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the area’s three baseball camps. 

While bringing money into the region, these visitors also bring increased wear-and-tear on roads and put a higher demand on resources such as water and sewer systems. 

And as state mandates continue to burden local governments, everyone is looking for a little bit more revenue to keep up. 

No, we don’t blame Miller, Katz and Wood for trying to make the tourist trade even more lucrative than it already is. 

But a recent letter signed by the trio, asking for the county to change the way it divvies up bed tax revenues, is just plain silly. 

Speaking to The Cooperstown Crier, Katz said that he and his colleagues are asking to bump up the bed tax from 4 percent to 6 percent, and divide the extra revenue based on who collected the taxes. In other words, the vast majority of this money would flow right back to the governments run by Katz, Miller and Wood. 

This idea is nothing new; these communities have been fighting for bigger shares of the pie for years, arguing that they deserve to reap more benefits from the revenues they collect. 

But the county board has, time and time again, turned away from the idea of any fixed formula for allotting the money. Instead, the board reviews applications for grants on a case-by-case basis. 

This year’s grant recipients include a concert series in Richfield Springs, a kite festival in Cherry Valley and the Fourth of July parade in Springfield. Money is also used to promote tourism throughout the county. Would these same grants have been allotted if Katz’s plan were in effect? Difficult to say. 

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