What else haven’t they told you?
September 14, 2005
The good ole’ boys suing the city over the Tourism Promotion Business Improvement District didn’t tell the whole story.
They didn’t tell you that for 23 years the local lodging industry has pulled the tax and marketing wagon with 12 percent or more of their gross sales. They didn’t tell you their own businesses paid nothing to match that lodging fee for 23 years while they blissfully rode in the tax wagon lodging was pulling. They didn’t tell you one of them, while on the council, voted for the lodging tax for marketing, but said nothing when the funds were diverted. He also voted for millstones around the city’s neck such as retirement medical for the employees and their spouses and pushed for the city to purchase the airport. It’s no wonder the city is in a tight financial situation.
The good ole’ boys suing the BID didn’t tell you that to be fair in the voting, lodging’s votes were counted separately from all others, or that even with the help of the big-box retailers who pay less than almost anywhere, their efforts to defeat the BID failed both with and without counting lodging votes. The one-business, one-vote result was 11 percent “no” to 89 percent “yes.” Even with the business value vote including the big boxes the no vote was only 27 percent no to 73 percent yes. That was with very intense media coverage and public discussion.
They didn’t tell you that lodging is currently contributing an extra $1.2 million to the city that will be the 1,400 lodging businesses contribution to the BID, while the 3,400 other businesses combined will pay only $300,000. They didn’t tell you that lodging owners will have to collect the fee and write large monthly checks while all others will pay only once per year. And, they didn’t tell you that many lodging owners won’t list the fee on their checkout paperwork, but rather choose to pay exactly like the retail and other businesses from their bottom line.
The good ole’ boys suing the BID didn’t tell you the method of payment was actually unfair to lodging with no cap on the fee causing some motels to pay $25,000 or more while 70 percent of the rest of the businesses would only pay the minimum $30 fee with a few high-grossing businesses having a cap of $1,500 or $3,000 for very large companies.
The good ole’ boys suing the BID didn’t tell you that even the doctor suing the BID treats many locals who are in the tourism business and works at our hospital that wouldn’t be as large and well equipped without the skiers in winter and outdoor enthusiasts in summer.
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The good ole’ boys didn’t tell you that their lawsuit calling for an injunction was sent back for being improperly filed the first time and that their second filing requesting an injunction was again denied by the court.
That makes them 0-2 so far, yet they are claiming victory. They didn’t tell you that the pawnshop owner suing would not be in business if it weren’t for gamblers down on their luck. They didn’t tell you that the three of them deliberately convinced the BID board they wanted to be appointed to it because they wanted to make the process work. It’s hard to understand how they can stay on the board and still work to close it down. What else haven’t they told you?
– Pete MacRoberts is past president of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association.
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