Are you about to head out for the long 4th of July weekend? Be sure to bring along some extra cash to cover the tourist taxes you'll probably encounter.
That's right. It's not being widely broadcast by state and local convention and visitors bureaus, but out-of-towners are the new hot revenue targets.
Tourist taxes are the latest way for cash-strapped cities and states to bring in some money. Back in May, I talked about some other
desperate innovative options in Money-hungry states, cities tax trolling.
Taxing visitors is not a new idea. For years, accommodation taxes have been used to help pay for things such as new convention centers. The thinking is that the folks who will be coming in for the expos at the building should help pay for its construction.
Now, however, tourists are being tapped for more general revenue needs.
WalletPop notes that tourist-related taxes, either new or hiked, have shown up in Hawaii (hotel tax increase), Alaska (new per-passenger cruise tax) and South Carolina (higher Myrtle Beach sales tax).
Money vs. hospitality: Will the tax-the-tourist trend work? Perhaps, but probably just in the short term.
I've got to agree with WalletPop's Jason Cochran, who points out that increasing taxation on leisure spending is a stupid idea when leisure spending is down.
In reality, given how many folks are taking staycations these days, most places might just find themselves treading water with fewer visitors bringing in a bit more via taxes.
And in the long run, the tourist taxes might even hurt.
There are a lot of variables that go into deciding where to spend recreational dollars. If a destination makes visitors feel like they're welcome simply because of their wallets, they might not want to come see you any more.