Two members of the Petaluma City Council have expressed an interest in raising the city’s transient occupancy tax, the tax levied on visitors at hotels and other inns. The tax revenue would be paid into the city’s general fund, and could be used for a wide array of projects or services. Previous attempts to raise the tax have been unsuccessful in Petaluma. The council members said they’d like the tax rate raised to 12 percent from 10 percent, a move that would require voter approval. Opponents have said the hike could hurt local tourism, because visitors would choose to stay somewhere with lower rates. Respondents in this week’s unofficial online poll were almost evenly split about whether or not they would support a measure to raise the tax.
Here were some of the comments:
“When was the last time you booked a hotel room based on the room taxes, with a difference of 2 percent between your first choice and a more distant location? Hotels most frequently don’t even quote a total price on hotel rooms, which can include taxes, casino online facility fees,  parking fees, in-room beverage fees, etc., until after the rooms are booked.”

“We can make more by charging less. The city should return transient occupancy tax monies to visitor and tourist activities.”

“We are a unique city that is becoming a tourist destination. Raising the transient occupancy tax now would deter visitors who want to spend a weekend here. Petaluma should concentrate on collecting transient taxes that are delinquent.”

“The business I work for puts a lot of people up at local hotels (for sales meetings, consultations etc.), so this is an additional expense that would hit us locally.”

“Stop bleeding everyone to death. When will our city get it when it comes to taxes?”

“With all these new taxes, people will be taxed out of Petaluma.”

“How about we reduce spending instead of increasing taxes? Now there’s a thought.”

“Absolutely – it’s a modest increase that won’t impact a visitor’s decision to stay and it can help make it even more attractive to visitors, as well as residents. The fact that we haven’t done this yet is simply absurd.”

“I would never give city management a blank check. I want to see where the money will be spent. With retail sales tax and property assessments going up in large increments I do not see a need for this tax, nor do I believe the ‘campaign’ by city staff for a tax increase.”