WASHINGTON, DC – A group of concerned travel industry leaders, who annually purchase or facilitate billions of dollars of travel services, wrote to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan urging him to reject SB190/HB1065, a new sales tax on fees for services provided by travel agencies in the booking of hotel rooms. This new tax would be passed on to corporate, university and government travel departments along with travel agencies’ significant new costs for legal obligations and accounting complexities as well as for audit and compliance requirements.
Concerned industry participants comprise major corporations, travel management companies, travel agencies, travel industry advocates, travel associations, travel consortia and organized labor. Signatories to the letter include American Express Global Business Travel, Independent Lodging Industry Association, American Society of Travel Agents, HICKORY GLOBAL PARTNERS, Business Travel Coalition, World Travel, Inc. Dollar Tree and the Teamsters National Airline Division.
“The letter to Governor Hogan underscored that travel and meeting managers, including state government travel offices and state universities, are under great pressure to watch every penny of travel spend. All of these administrative costs would be on top of the new tax and would be translated into higher transaction fees from the travel agency to the travel department,” stated Business Travel Coalition Chairman, Kevin Mitchell. “As such, a double incentive would have been created to choose a less expensive destination than Maryland, if possible. If not possible, there would be less money to spend in Baltimore or Annapolis on restaurants and entertainment negatively impacting jobs and economic activity,” added Mitchell.
“We also pointed out in the letter that not only would this bill result in downward pressure on demand for lodging properties of all sizes, it would do harm to Maryland’s 2,464 travel agencies most of which are small businesses endeavoring to scratch out a living for themselves and their employees,” stated David Bourne, Teamsters Airline Division Director. “Smaller agencies simply do not have the infrastructure to handle these kinds of requirements and many would not be able to compete with larger agencies that do. So, the playing field would get tilted in favor of the largest agencies,” added Bourne.
The letter can be downloaded at http://www.businesstravelcoalition.com/press-room/2015/march-31---industry-letter.html.