I have now spoken to several local homeowners and business owners, and found a growing outrage at the proposed new Delaware County bed tax. I completely agree with the points they made, which include the following:
In the past few years, the owners of our local wedding venues have developed a burgeoning industry out of the funds from their own pockets and the sweat of their brow. They have given us a thriving wedding business that benefits all local businesses, from florists, to caterers, to gas stations, to restaurants, etc. Now that these private entrepreneurs have done all the groundwork, the county wants to horn in and grab some of the cash with a new tax. This is outrageous opportunism.
If the county imposes an additional 2 percent tax, on top of the 8 percent sales tax, there will be a whopping 10 percent tax on these overnight guests. Just at the moment that the county should be encouraging more guests, it is chasing them away. And indeed, the county tourism website has been boasting all along that tourists should come to our county because “We have no bed tax.” This is a sudden about-face that undermines the image of our county.
In addition, our county officials have been bemoaning the chronic shortage of housing for hosting the growing wedding industry. Now they will shoot themselves in the foot by forcing homeowners out of the hospitality business. I have been told by several local home renters that, if they are forced to pay more taxes and file more paperwork, they will simply withdraw from the market, further reducing the already-small pool of houses available to support the wedding industry. People won’t sign up for weddings in this area if there is a serious lack of places to house their guests.
Walcutt is a candidate for Roxbury town supervisor.