Hotel Tax Hike? OC Freeholder Has Reservations
Ocean County Freeholder Joe Vicari says he doesn't think he and his colleagues would hike the hotel tax, even if the state gives them the option.
A bill currently under consideration by state lawmakers (S-3169) would give New Jersey county governments the option of raising their hotel tax by 1% in order to raise much-needed revenue. But Vicari says he has his doubts.
"In my opinion, working with tourism for many years, this would not be beneficial for Ocean County tourism," Vicari said. "And one of the reasons is, in the past, any time there has been a tax, Ocean County has not seen its fair share. It went to other areas."
The current bill does guarantee that additional revenues raised with the increase would return to the county of origin, but Vicari says that can always change. He says the proposal might be a good fit for other areas, but our situation is different.
"Many of the motels that we have in Ocean County are small, individually-owned by mom and pops, and this would be an undue hardship for them," Vicari said. "Especially right now, after Superstorm Sandy. They're still trying to recover, it's going to take several more years."
The bill is sponsored by Bergen County Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-37) and is currently before the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.