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Any responses to those 4 questions?
1) Would anyone say Victoria has been a good steward of the nearly $11M in hotel taxes it's collected since 2001?
2) Why is the need to invent a tourist industry more important than letting people keep & use THEIR money as they see fit?
3) Can we ever prove a net economic gain when we can't measure how the HOT funds would've otherwise been spent by its earners, which is the rightful default? If not, how can we justify the tax levy?
4) Should development of a tourist industry fall within the scope of a city government, regardless of what State law allows?
Maybe it is just because I think Victoria really needs an arena (for rodeos, basketball, hockey, concerts, etc), but with the city's lack of negotiating prowess of Port Lavaca, maybe the HOT could exist, but go towards the building of said facility and running of.
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Tophat said: "Perhaps the method the selection of recipients, followed by the disbursement of said funds process could, should be revisited."
Revisiting the method for doling out funds that are extracted from the productive, individually-guided segment of the economy dances around the core problem.---
Tophat said: "...elimination of the whole concept. Seemingly that would be counterproductive. This practice is country wide- I always considered it to be a cost of travel."
It depends on your definition of "productive". Many would say that money is more productive when used by individuals to "vote" in the marketplace. How the money would otherwise be spent is never considered. That "cost of travel" is an added cost to a good/service sold if staying overnight on business (as I do periodically), and that cost gets passed onto the local business and most likely local customers.---
Tophat said: "Victoria's 7% is assuredly lower than some; I assume to be higher than others. I have not retained lodging in every state, but certainly have in the overwhelming majority. It would never be a "deal breaker" in personal or business travel."
Victoria charges the maximum it's allowed. Some larger cities are eligible to charge up to 9% if they meet certain criteria. How other states extract private funds from their economies is irrelevant — the same principles apply.---
Tophat said: "I do agree that a recipient transporting visitors to Austin or other points for lodging, etc. as absolutely against the grain of the concept."
You might be missing the point about the economics of removing that cash from hundreds of productive individuals and placing the decisions in the hands of a few. It's morally and intellectually bankrupt.
People spending their money on what they want to spend it on instead of hidden taxes to collect those same monies for a handful of individuals to spend on advertising, arts, and unrealistic heads in beds activities.
That is a wild concept. Imagine if it were true?
I'm not making the case for the money to be used in a different manner by the City. I'm asking that it not be collected and stay in private hands. The local portion of the tax is optional. Since we've cleared that up, it sounds like you're on board. Excellent!
Victoria will likely top $25M in taxable receipts for 2011 (Q4 numbers not available yet), which will yield $1.75M+ in tax revenue. I sure would like to see that money chasing private goods & services (based on market forces) or used as business capital. We're sucking the productivity out of a big chunk of cash.
END THE HOT
I am thinking that 1.748 is gross reciepts in a quarter, statewide. If the $1.748 billion is the taxes received number. And 15% is the total tax. You would take 6 into 15 and get 40%. That would equal a state take of $649 million. The Counties and Cities would get $1.049 billion. Just chump change for a city. "I don't know about your or my numbers but, heck it is only money, free money that is. So heck, lets get it all to 'em."
Just for grins I looked up the "Taxable receipts" for all cities in Texas.Please understand that these are "3rd quarter of 2011" figures. That's 1 quarter (3 months) of a year. There are 9881 Hotels involved in this game.Taxable Receipts $1,748,593,100.03
So the state gets it's 6% cut,$104,915,586.00 that leaves those cities getting only$ 122,401,517.00
Does this sound about right?
There are a few here who think "everything is aboveboard, so why it's so difficult for everyone to let the City Council do what they were voted in to do"While people did think like that all the way up until the 50's and 60's, the current attitudes of our city, state, and federal public office holders leave me very little room to trust them simply because they are elected public officials.
I think we are well past trusting everyone because they say so.
If it looks dirty, feels dirty, and smells dirty, chances are pretty good that it is dirty.
DaleZuck,They have a website with past issues availablehttp://revistadevictoria.com/
I am anxiously awaiting the January issue to be posted online
Thanks for the info.
I do not know how many persons read the bilingual monthly newspaper, Revista Victoria. It is found mostly on the news racks in South Victoria. I regulary pick it up to see what is happening in the Hispanic community. The January edition came out last Wednesday. The headline titled, "CVB's funding went to chamber, audit finds. "Action violates contract between city and chamber".
The story was written as an investigative journalistic piece by former Victoria Advocate crack reporter, Brian Cuaron. Email email@example.com
Revista Victoria had Mr Cuaron conduct a Freedom of Information Act request on the City of Victoria regarding a (my words) hush, hush audit performed by Harrison, Waldrop and Uhereck. The audit focused on only on the contract with the Chamber and the City regarding money given to the CVB from December '10 to June '11.
What did the audit find?
#1 Money from the Hotel Occupancy Tax was commingled at least from December to June. Each HOT payment ultimately made it from the Chamber's account to the CVB account. The audit said this transfer occurred at a minimum 14 days and on one event 59 days later.
#2 No contract existed between Jet Marketing and the Chamber for Jets marketing service to the Chamber. (Now this is rather neglectful, especially give the fact the City requires a contract for anything, even pouring a little cement for a sidewalk. Remember, Jet Marketing was given obviously hundreds of thousands of dollars. How could a little thing like a contract be overlooked?
#3 The other thing brought up by the audit was the commission paid to Jet. Supposedly, the normal commission rate is 15%. According to the auditors calculations, Jet was paid at 17.65 percent. Now the Revista story does say the auditors later used a calculation done by the CVB and hit the 15% figure.
I attended the Council meeting on feb 7th. I suggested that the Council look into this audit, which the City paid for. I suspect the City would really rather sweep the Boot deal under the carpet. But then again, our City Fathers never sweep things away from public viewing.
You're absolutely correct, and the list of leeches is long. Transferring economic risk to the taxpayers is the new business model.
I have to imagine the greatest proponents of this HOT Tax fiasco are the folks at Texas Monthly, advertising companies, and the Bridgette Bises of the world. Certainly with all the cities doing this, Victoria isn't the only one making the decision to fling money in those directions hoping for a windfall to magically return.Outside of those named above, who else benefits from something like this?
This HOT Tax is a lottery game on steroids that only a handful of city officials that get to play. The odds of winning aren't as astronomical and there are few if any consequences for making bad picks.
Any discussion on the (de)merits of not collecting the HOT?
keep the hotel tax but we need 100% transparency on how the funds are being distributed
I would settle for a truly independent audit of the money collected and spent versus the actual increased revenues realized from those expenditures. The findings of such an audit would put the issue to bed once and for all.