The video below is an example of why we have some local politicians that cannot be trusted to speak honestly and why we have a City Council that is misinformed on the issues. We have a local politician, one that should know better, attempting to clarify to the Council that the the Hotel Motel tax is somehow not a tax. This politician calls this tax pass through dollars, reimbursed dollars or designated reimbursed dollars and attempts to avoid the concept that these are taxes and that real people pay this tax.
Oak Harbor has one of the highest lodging tax rates in the State and certainly in our local area. The “2%” tax is a tax make no mistake about it. Yes it is passed through the state. But it is a real tax real and real people pay it. It makes no difference to the visitors to our city whether it is “passed through” the state or not as it comes directly from their pockets. While it is called the “2%” tax our city taxes 2% under RCW 67.28.180 and also taxes an additional 2% under RCW 67.28.181 for a total of a 4% tax on all hotel motel sales. So in Oak Harbor this should be referred to as the 4% tax…not the 2% tax as stated by this politician.
The local politician who is in the video below attempts to tell the council that this tax does not come from taxpayer dollars using the excuse that these taxes are “passed though” the state and somehow do not count…this could be no further from the truth, they do count, and a good reason why many of our local politicians cannot be trusted to truthfully explain taxes that citizens pay.
We have politicians in our community that in an effort to supposedly inform the Oak Harbor City Council make the issue even harder to understand. It is very clear to all who stay in Oak Harbor’s hotel and motels that the tax they pay on their lodging totals 12.7%. (6.5% State sales tax plus 2.2% Oak Harbor local sales tax plus 4% hotel motel tax).
In comparison visitors who stay in several of our other local communities pay substantially less:
Oak Harbor = 12.7% (6.5% State, 2.2% local, 4% hotel motel)
Anacortes = 10.2% (6.5% State, 1.7% local, 2% hotel Motel)
LaConner = 10.3% (6.5% State, 1.8% local, 2% hotel motel)
The hotel motel tax in Oak Harbor costs an additional 2.4% over Anacortes and 2.3% over LaConner, this equates to and additional $2.40 for each $100.00 spent on hotel motel lodging in Oak Harbor over our surrounding communities.
In a time when we are competing with other local communities for tourist dollars we need to have a City Council that is informed on the issues that directly effect tourism which this tax does. It does a great disservice to our community to have other local politicians attempt to muddy the waters, tell us that our taxes are somehow not taxes and that they do not effect our local community.