Resolution: Online Travel Companies
Release Date: Feb 10, 2010
Whereas leisure and hospitality is an $11.2 billion industry in Minnesota that accounts for 16% of Minnesota's state sales tax and provides over 245,000 full and part-time jobs;
Whereas, preliminary 2008 gross sales for lodging in Minnesota is $1,890,365,419 generating an estimated state sales tax for lodging of $114,340,891;
Whereas, online reservation and booking services perform a function in marketing the available inventory of lodging rooms in Minnesota and throughout the world;
Whereas, online reservation and booking services are also recognized and used as a means of comparative shopping and price evaluation for consumers.
Whereas, due to online booking services significance in the sale of lodging rooms, any changes in the costs or ability to operate or comply with laws in Minnesota as compared to other destinations could impact our lodging industry.
Therefore, the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council resolves:
Implementation of Online Travel Company taxes in Minnesota should not distinguish Minnesota from surrounding states in a way that would negatively impact Minnesota lodging occupancy and revenue.
Lodging properties must be indemnified from penalties that result from lack of compliance with taxation laws on the part of online travel companies and should not be required to collect tax on funds that are not paid to the lodging property.
Although this issue may need to be addressed at a federal level, it must be dealt with as a free standing issue and thoroughly vetted through the congressional hearing process.