York County CVB Hails Senate Committee Vote In Favor Of Equitable Tourism Funding Bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Destination Marketing Director
York County Convention & Visitors Bureau
717-852-9675, ext. 109 or firstname.lastname@example.org
York County Convention & Visitors Bureau
717-852-9675, ext. 103 or email@example.com
YORK, PA- The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau today released the following statement from Anne Druck, York County CVB President, on House Bill 794 that was passed unanimously by a key Pennsylvania Senate committee.
The legislation would allow a majority of Pennsylvania counties, including York County, to raise their local levies on hotel room stays if they choose as a way to increase funding for local tourism promotion.
"The York County tourism community thanks all Senators today who voted in favor of House Bill 794, giving a full and bipartisan endorsement of this measure to achieve Equitable Tourism Funding at the local level in Pennsylvania and ushering the bill toward a vote before the full Senate. On behalf of tourism stakeholders in York County and across the Commonwealth, we say thank you to Senator Kim Ward, Senator Scott Wagner, Representative Keith Gillespie and scores of other lawmakers for their vital support on this issue, as well as to the tireless leadership of our industry coalition working to get this important bill to the finish line."
Representative Keith Gillespie's HB 794 was passed in late June of this year by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, moving the legislation to the Pennsylvania Senate and the legislative body's Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee.
Since then, a coalition of industry partners has been diligently and feverishly working together to communicate with lawmakers and iron out details ahead of the committee taking up the measure this fall.
At the same time, the York County CVB has proactively reached out this fall to local tourism stakeholders, such as organizations that would appoint committee members for an oversight group to allocate some of the proceeds of increased funding to partners via grants.
The primary benefit of a higher room tax rate in York County - which has been estimated to generate approximately $1 million in additional funding per year - is seen as a fiscally stronger community of tourism partners and stakeholders. They would be supported with either an increase in dedicated funding or access to potential grant money awarded as previously agreed to by community partners.
York County stakeholders reached a consensus several years ago on how proceeds from a room tax rate of 5 percent would be invested to benefit tourism and the local economy, into which visitor spending injects more than $907 million annually. However, enabling legislation covering York County has been required before the York County Commissioners could vote to raise the local tax rate higher than 3 percent.
Only some counties in the Commonwealth have previously received permission by way of enabling legislation to raise their respective local levies on hotel room stays above a rate of 3 percent. This has included several of York County's neighboring destinations, which now have 5 percent effective tax rates. As a result, York County and the 53 others have been at a tourism funding disadvantage, a situation compounded by dwindled financial assistance at the state level for visitor promotion.
Further information on multi-year efforts to secure this needed tourism promotion funding is available in previous news releases archived in the York County CVB's Press Room at www.yorkpa.org/press-room.
The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau's Mission is to maximize tourism expenditures and their economic impact in York County, PA, through comprehensive tourism sales and marketing programs. The York County CVB's Vision is for a York County where tourism is recognized for the value of its economic impact and its role in raising the profile of York County as a sought-after destination. For more information on the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, call 1-888-858-9675 or visit www.yorkpa.org.