Indiana News

Trade Group: Indy Visitors Pay Average of $34 a Day in Taxes

Travel taxes rate as nation's 8th-highest, $12 above cheapest cities

12/13/2012

A travel-industry trade group is warning Indy's taxes on travelers could hurt the city's competitiveness for business meetings.

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The Global Business Travel Association calculates the taxes paid by visitors to Indianapolis on items from hotel rooms to rental cars come to more than 34 dollars a day. That's the eighth-highest among the nation's top 50 travel destinations.

Jeremy Gardner is president of the association's Ohio Valley chapter, which covers Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. He says the group's main objection is to what it views as taxation without representation. Hotel taxes are paid primarily by out-of-towners, but typically are used to pay not for the hotel but for unrelated projects like football stadiums.

Indy has a few taxes like that, and is considering raising the rental-car tax again to support the Capital Improvement Board, which oversees Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse. But unlike most of the association's bottom 10, Indy got its ranking mainly through sales taxes paid by everyone. Indiana's seven-percent tax is the second-highest in the nation.

Gardner says it's a mistake to assume it's just outsiders paying the price. He says Indianapolis-headquartered businesses like Eli Lilly spend thousands of dollars to cover the costs of their employees who travel to Indy for business meetings.

Chicago rates as the association's most heavily-taxed city, at more than 40 dollars a day. The least-expensive list is dominated by Florida and California, which occupy seven of the 10 slots. Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and West Palm Beach tie for the top spot, with just over 22 dollars in daily taxes.

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