Thursday, 13 June 2019 13:03

Lawmakers considering optional meal and lodging tax

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OGUNQUIT (WGME) - All purchases at hotels and restaurants in Maine could become more expensive as Maine lawmakers discuss an optional tax.

Some in the hospitality industry, however, do not support the concept.


"Raising the tax from what is already a relatively high tax in Maine could impact our business," said Sarah Potter, president of the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce.


The bill would create an optional 1 percent tax on lodging and food revenue, meaning towns would still have to vote to approve it if legislators pass it.


One hotel owner said the proposed optional tax is a terrible idea.


"Maine's lodging tax at 9 percent is one of the highest in the area. If you tack on the local option tax and then further state taxes on that, it would be one of the highest in the country," said Meadowmere Resort co-owner Allyson Cavaretta.


The money from the tax would mostly go to the towns and some would go to a general fund to help rural communities.


Some said the bill is too much trouble for too little reward.


Others said they like the idea.


"Get the tax dollars from the people that are coming here to visit to help those later in the offseason times," said Denise Carey, who was visiting family in the Ogunquit area.


But some locals, including Potter and Cavaretta, are worried about what it could mean for the future.


"This could affect a town like Ogunquit more than a town that is more diversified in its business," Potter said.


"Seventy percent of meals are consumed by Mainers. This indirectly is a tax on people who live here," Cavaretta said.

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