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Bed-tax increase puts onus on airport to show progress



Published: Sat, August 25, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Two of the three commission- ers in Mahoning County have voted to increase the county’s hotel and motel bed tax by 2 percent, contending that the financial strength of the regional airport is key to the Valley’s economic well-being.

Given the opposition from innkeepers in the county to the tax jumping from 3 percent to 5 percent, the Western Reserve Port Authority, which runs the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, has an obligation to provide a detailed explanation for why the money it receives from Mahoning and Trumbull counties is necessary.

The authority should show how the hundreds of thousands of dollars help the airport meet Federal Aviation Administration standards, satisfy the demands of the Air Force’s Youngstown Air Reserve Station and assist in achieving the economic development goals.

In addition, Congressman Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, and the Western Reserve Building Trades need to reassure the hotel and motel owners that should they lose business as a result of the higher bed tax, they will benefit from the overall economic growth that will come from the activities at the airport.

The 2 percent tax increase approved by commissioners John A. McNally IV and Carol Rimedio-Righetti — Commissioner Anthony Traficanti, who is seeking re-election this year, voted “no” — is expected to generate $500,000. Last year, with the 3 percent bed tax in place, Mahoning County funneled about $500,000 to the port authority. Trumbull County, which had a 5 percent bed tax, allocated $350,000.

In July, the Trumbull commissioners reduced the bed tax from 5 percent to 4 percent after the port authority approved a $7,500 bonus for Dan Dickten, the director of aviation. Dickten declined the bonus, and the commissioners are now expected to reinstate the 1 percent.

The Trumbull County officials also have been waiting for their Mahoning County counterparts to act on the increase.

At a time when local governments are struggling to make ends meet as a result of major cuts in state funding, the commitment by county governments to the regional airport certainly carries political risks.

Port authority members must be aware that there is a sizable segment of the Valley population that does not share the opinion of this newspaper and other leaders in the Valley that a fully operational airport is an essential ingredient in the economic revitalization of the region.

Standards

They should also realize that while the bed tax revenue does not come out of the pockets of Valley taxpayers, it is still allocated by the Trumbull and Mahoning county commissioners, which means the standards governing the expenditure of public funds are applicable.

The hotel and motel owners in Mahoning County want voters to decide whether the bed tax should be raised by 2 percent. That’s not going to happen, but their concerns about the loss of business should not be dismissed.

With the 2 percent increase, the total tax charged is now 14.75 percent — 6.75 percent combined state and county sales tax, 5 percent county bed tax, and 3 percent bed taxes in Canfield, Austintown and Boardman.

In voting for the increase, commissioners McNally and Rimedio-Righetti also changed the distribution formula of the county bed tax from two-thirds to the port authority and one-third to the convention and visitors’ bureau to 70 percent to the authority and 30 percent to the bureau.

The port authority will be receiving more than $1 million from Mahoning and Trumbull counties, which means the spotlight of public scrutiny will shine even more brightly on the regional airport.


Comments

1southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 2 years ago

Read my lips...no new taxes!

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2cmanknowsall(11 comments)posted 2 years ago

The director of the port authority makes a six figure income. The grant writer at the port authority makes a high five figure income. Where are the new projects generating income for the port authority and where are all of the grants they should be getting????

The Columbiana County Port Authority has all kinds of projects going. Some have made money, some have lost money, but at least they are trying and without ANY bed tax money.

Any new revenue from the increase should go towards projects in Mahoning County. Like helping Youngstown pay down its debt on the Covelli Center (which brings in visitors to the area). That would be a much better use than sending the airport more money.

Lets see if the Ditz has any balls and votes to rescind this bad choice made by dumb and indicted.

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3GTX66(343 comments)posted 2 years ago

Don't these nitwits think that this is just going to be passed on to the people that stay in these motels.This disgusts me .

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4mstng_sally(13 comments)posted 2 years ago

I 'usually' stay in Boardman when I visit, so I don't inconvenience my family. My mother is in a nursing home dying, so I visit the area quite often. Why should I contribute to an airport that really is of NO benefit to anyone? The Youngstown area has been trying to 'rebuild' since the steel mills closed! Still living in the past - and the progress that's been made has been beneficial to the politicians pockets. People need to stop listening to their b.s. and see how much money THEY are making. Since they've bled the valley residents dry, now they'll nickel and dime anyone who DARES visit the area. I'll make my trip a 'day' visit and stay. I'll stay in Pennsylvania - I figured it out and their taxes are less. (At least Pittsburgh has revitalized itself, unlike Y-town - I'll pay them the extra $$).

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5Ianacek(909 comments)posted 2 years ago

The Valley has excelled at taxing over the decades & in shifting the burden to non residents when the resident voters complained . Youngstown City perfected this to a fine art & even today can boast a local income tax rate high enough to discourage the small entrepreneurs & working residents who may otherwise move to the City .

Youngstown doesn't need a scheduled service airport . It needs a regular shuttle bus connecting with Pittsburgh & Cleveland .

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