Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pacific Grove's Chamber of Commerce against raising the city's TOT

The transient occupancy tax was at the center of debate at Pacific Grove's City Council meeting last week, and one of the first to voice his opposition and rally against it was Chamber President Moe Ammar.
That's because Ammar sees any raise in the TOT as not only inhospitable but harmful. The council is considering raising the tax from 10 to 12 percent in an effort to make up some lost ground when it comes to the city's financial deficit. The issue of whether to raise the TOT or not is set to appear as an item on the council's March 2 meeting agenda.
It's a move that Ammar says he's “grateful” hasn't happened yet, despite repeatedly coming up. Among his reasons for strong opposition: that 25 lodging establishments in the city already contribute 22 percent of the city's budget and that the TOT in neighboring cities Carmel and Monterey is at 10 percent.
“There's never a good time to raise taxes and we'd rather have taxes raised organically rather than being taxed,” said Ammar. “We have to stay competitive with Carmel and Monterey.”
Ammar also noted his view that the city should act as a partner with the Chamber and should be supporting the hotels and inns, not putting heavier burdens on them.
“They should be making it easier for them rather than harder,” he said.

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