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Menlo council reverses itself on hotel tax

Original post made on Jul 28, 2010

Menlo Park's hotel tax will remain as is for at least three more years after the City Council reversed itself last night (July 27) and decided not to ask voters to boost it from 10 percent to 12 percent.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 10:10 AM

Comments (9)

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 28, 2010 at 6:04 pm

The worst time to raise taxes is is an economic downturn. In an economic downturn the tax elasticity is well above 1. This means that if you decrease the tax rate the tax base will increase disproportionately resulting in more tax revenues.

The Stanford Park Hotel and the Rosewood Hotel have been very beneficial for Menlo Park. To cause them economic hardship will directly correlate to decreased tax revenues.

The new council that will be seated in December should actually pull this measure and substiture another measure that states that it will only raise the tax rates if the occupancy rates at both hotels average greater than 90%. Otherwise we should leave well enough alone.

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Posted by hanging around
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 28, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Ms. Fergusson, who noted that many staff hours had gone into putting the ordinance together, said she was "disappointed to see the council flip-flop at the last minute."

Her statement is really remarkable. According to her, Council should have gone ahead with this, just because McClure had to spend his valuable time writing up the motion. Just where does she come from?

For her information, that is why they have second readings, so that more information might appear which might change a previous decision. IN this case, Boyle decided that this wasn't the time to raise taxes. Cohen, being the wise one, knew that much earlier.

A major defeat for Kelly and Heyward, who both are tax and spenders. Now I understand that the deficit has ballooned about the last 6 weeks from $500,000 to 2,500,000 and still Fergusson doesn't want to discuss this until after the election.

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Posted by Shame On Us
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 29, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Shame on Us Menlo Park if we vote Ms. Kelly Ferguson to more years of public service. Her liberal taxing and spending ideology will do nothing for us, but get us into trouble. She has no idea how to take care of the taxpayers dollars. And I am a very liberal Democrat!

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Posted by No brainer trainer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 29, 2010 at 2:26 pm

This should have been a no-brainer.

Anyone who travels recognizes that they get dinged for such taxes and fees by hotels. On a $300 per night room, the extra 2% would be $6. This should have no effect on a decision to use the Rosewood or not, especially since their guests are dinged $14 a day for Internet access, and $35 a glass of wine. Also the Stanford charges guests a mandatory 'amenity fee' of $15 on top of the room rate, and apparently that doesn't affect their decisions to stay there.

I don't like raising taxes, but this decision should have been a no-brainer and the council unnecessarily left $ on the table.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 29, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I'm not fond of increasing taxes on anyone - rich or poor - especially when the economy is trying to recover from a serious recession.

As a frequent traveler, I do not consider taxes when I book my hotel rooms or airline fares. I know that when a hotel room is supposed to cost $200, it'll probably be more like $230 or $240 after taxes.

While it is probably true that people who can afford to stay at the Rosewood probably don't care about the tax, it would be nice to see elected officials tighten their belts. You can't tax your way to solvency.

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Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 29, 2010 at 6:27 pm

It may well be that another $6 on your $300 room rate won't make you rethink. Or, maybe like the straw that broke the camel's back, looking over the added charges and seeing $36 in occupancy tax will be the last straw. Hotel managers would know this better than I, so I leave it at that.

What is disturbing is the idea that incremental tax increases are OK because each one is small. Burlingame Hills has seen incremental increases in its sewer connection charge that raised them, incrementally, to over $800 per year. Our sales tax rate has risen, incrementally, to nearly $100 on a $1000 purchase. There need to be limits.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 29, 2010 at 6:33 pm

What is deeply troubling is that the MP Council's entire approach to a deficit is to eagerly looking for new revenue, i.e. taxes and fees, while ignoring the cutting of expenses.

Why not just CONSIDER saving $7 million/year by outsourcing police services? That would produce both a balanced budget and substantial excess revenue without any tax or fee increases.

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Posted by Just Wondering
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 30, 2010 at 5:36 am


Please stick to the topic - the hotel tax.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 30, 2010 at 10:15 am

With regard to the incrementalism cited by Mr. Riggs, it is true that "a small tax here" and "a small tax there" adds up quickly. There is no better example of this than our patchwork of parcel taxes. Each was passed by proponents who say that the cost is equivalent to a Starbucks coffee each day. But four or five of those add up to thousands of dollars a year in taxes.

Mr. Carpenter is also correct. There is plenty of room for our cities and towns to save money before they should consider new taxes.

Cities should live within their means, just like the rest of us.

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