Raise Taxes to Boost Tourism? The New Math

Scottsdale and Tempe are asking voters to approve 16% bed tax rate hikes in order to boost tourism. Seriously.

Here’s a quote from the Yes on 200 (Scottsdale) website: “The additional bed-tax revenue generated from Proposition 200 will lead to more marketing of Scottsdale to tourists and meeting planners. More tourists means more visitor expenditures in Scottsdale businesses, more tourism-related jobs in Scottsdale and additional revenue coming into the city coffers, which lowers the tax burden on residents.”

Killing their argument today is a front page story in the Arizona Republic, which outlines that smoking deals currently being offered by resorts has increased occupancy rates. Now we’re talking.

Yes, tourists actually found Scottsdale resorts without more government-funded marketing. Yes, lower prices (not higher) will increase traffic, interest, and activity. It works everywhere else in the world.

There is absolutely no reason to jack up bed taxes now and send that money to the Scottsdale Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to . . . market Scottsdale. If you don’t believe me, just read the paper.

** Note: For some reason the Republic’s editorial board urged support of the new tax.