Almanac

Viewpoint - July 28, 2010

Letter: Hotel occupancy tax could backfire

It's a sign of the times. Last week the Menlo Park City Council voted to raise the hotel occupancy tax in our city from 10 percent to 12 percent, with the logic that if Palo Alto charges that much, we should. (Redwood City charges 10 percent). This tax is the city's favorite as it's not shared with the state or county like other major taxes.

Of course this is passed on to the hotel guest, who is not a Menlo Park resident, so what's the problem? According to the manager of the new Rosewood Hotel, it will reduce his volume because currently there's an advantage to booking premium rooms in Menlo Park compared with Palo Alto (and interestingly, this market also competes with San Francisco as a destination).

In other words, we may be squeezing the golden goose too hard and may actually reduce the tax receipts. Put this in the same category as deferring library hours and deferring road, parks and systems maintenance — which we have done repeatedly: not good.

In spite of the city's largest income sources (our share of real estate taxes) being up $8 million in the last nine years — more than the entire drop in sales taxes — we are still falling behind because of personnel costs. We won't get our basic city services back to 100 percent until we tame those expenses, and we need leadership that will do it.

Henry Riggs, Callie Lane, Menlo Park

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields