No simple solution
There has been a lot of debate about how to pay for the costs of increased tourism in Traverse City. Bill Schulz, in a recent letter to the editor, suggested a tax on room charges.
This would appear to be a logical solution, but this option was eliminated with the passage of the Headlee amendment in 1978. Local units of government are not allowed to levy sales or use taxes. Allowable taxes on lodging include the six percent sales tax and two to five percent rooms tax. Although the room tax would appear to be a solution it can only be used to support marketing and promotion programs.
Until the Michigan Constitution is amended to allow local units to levy a tax on lodging (or restaurant food) there are no simple solutions to our dilemma.
Once again Rep. Dan Benishek has been helpful to Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park. Working several years on legislation to protect about 32,500 acres of the park by designating it as wilderness, northern Michigan’s tourism industry will be given a valuable boost. More legislation will be coming along to complete the bill. We can thank Rep. Benishek for pursuing this important bill which will benefit our area’s economy while supporting about 2,300 jobs.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park was named by ABC’s “Good Morning America” as the most beautiful place in America. When passed, this bill will preserve this precious park forever. It will prevent any development from destroying the park, and will keep the beaches open for public use.
Rep. Benishek obviously supports Michigan’s environment, works against invasive species and pollution of the Great Lakes. He is a great asset to Congress.