On a near party-line vote, the House of Delegates passed the controversial new travel services tax (SB190) today, setting up the first test of Governor Larry Hogan’s “no new taxes” pledge. The legislation, which passed the Senate last month, would apply a new 6 percent sales tax on travel agent services. The new tax would affect online services as well as local travel agents, tour operators, wedding planners and other Maryland service providers. Six Democrats joined all Republicans in voting against the bill.
“Today Governor Hogan receives a bill that increases taxes on over 200 of Maryland’s small businesses and their nearly 1,100 employees, and imposes a new tax on the thousands of Maryland travelers who use online travel agents to book travel each year,” said Steve Shur, president of the Travel Technology Association. “If signed by Governor Hogan, this new tax would send a clear message to taxpayers and the nation that Maryland hasn’t changed its taxing ways.”
Across America, over a dozen courts ruled that travel companies collect and remit the taxes properly, which counters new tax proponents’ claim that bill just “closes a loophole.”
“Plain and simple, SB190 is a new tax on Maryland’s travel economy and the small businesses.,” continued Shur. “Over the past few years, dozens of states have rejected similar tax ploys. Just this February, both chambers of the Virginia state legislature debated and voted down the proposed new tax.”
In an interview with the Associated Press this week, Hogan complained that some in the legislature “haven’t quite gotten” that he was elected because Maryland wanted fiscal responsibility and relief from the 40 new taxes imposed on the state over the last eight years. Governor Hogan now has an opportunity to demonstrate that Maryland has indeed moved in a new direction by vetoing a bill that imposes a tax on Maryland small businesses. Learn more about the bill and its impact on Maryland’s travel economy at TravelTech.org/Maryland.