Top Ten Reasons Why the Yates County Occupancy Tax on Vacation Rentals Must be Repealed:

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

To the Editor:

1.    The Occupancy Tax was imposed without sufficient attempt to solicit and consider input by those who are most affected by it – seasonal vacation rental owners and their non-resident customers:  “Taxation without representation.”

2.    The vast majority of vacation rentals are managed by “mom-and-pop” operations whose primary reason for renting is to help pay their disproportionate share of school, town, and county property taxes. 

3.    The quarterly collection and reporting of the Occupancy Tax puts an unfair burden on the lodging industry, especially the aforementioned mom-and-pop operators. 

4.    The Occupancy Tax on tourists was rationalized as a means raise funds to help promote tourism, yet only half of the tax revenue will ostensibly go toward promoting tourism (in the form of a subsidy to the Yates County Chamber of Commerce); the other half goes to the Yates County general fund.   As we’ve seen with most other targeted taxes and fees, they eventually all end up as another source of general funds. 

5.    Neighboring counties do not have an Occupancy Tax; therefore, vacationers and tourists will be incented to avoid Yates County to spend their vacations and their money.  This will not only end up hurting our local businesses and their employees who depend on tourism for their livelihoods, but it will also depress the collection of county sales taxes.  

6.    For those vacationers and tourists who do come to Yates County, the money they spend on the Occupancy Tax is money they will not spend on other local goods, services, and sales taxes in Yates County. 

7.    The estimated $100,000 in additional County tax revenue (remember, only half goes to the general fund) that will by collected in Occupancy Taxes is less than 0.3% of the $38+ million Yates County budget – Why bother? The potential loss in commerce and sales taxes will more than offset this insignificant source of incremental county revenue. 

8.    As we’ve seen with the county sales tax, a tax that starts at 4% quickly becomes an 8% tax. 

9.    We already pay town taxes, county taxes, school taxes, sales taxes, state income taxes, and federal income taxes, not to mention a myriad of fees and surcharges for everything from a driver’s license to a fishing license.  Enough is enough already!

10.    A tax is a tax is a tax.  Yates County and New York State needs fewer taxes not more taxes.

Douglas Bugner

Penn Yan