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New Orleans proposed hotel sales tax increase could affect conventions business

Excerpt from Nola

Mar 30, 2013 4:37 am

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This tax increase won’t have much effect on casual vacationers, but does come into play for larger conventions when meeting planners are comparison shopping across cities, hence this worry.

— Rafat Ali

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The tourism industry, one of New Orleans’ main economic engines, will be keeping one number in mind as lawmakers debate Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed tax overhaul next month: 15.25 percent.┬áThat’s the sales tax rate that visitors would have to pay on hotel rooms in New Orleans if the governor’s plan to supplant state income tax with sales taxes becomes reality.

Tourists already pay 13 percent in taxes on hotel stays…Economists doubt that an uptick of a few percentage points will convince large numbers of vacationers to avoid New Orleans in favor of Miami or San Francisco. But the more hotels are taxed the more it worries businesses that rely on conventions and other large events known to comparison shop for the best deals.

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