Why tax a local when a visitor will do? Since travelers don't vote in the destinations where they're taxed, cash-strapped municipalities see them as an easy source of additional revenue.
In Chicago, the tax on a case of Miller Lite beer runs about 9%. That pales in comparison with the 16.4% tax on a hotel room and the 23% tax on car rentals at O’Hare International Airport.
Travel is one of the most heavily taxed activities in the U.S., even though most cities and towns try hard to encourage visitors and tourism. Travelers don’t vote where they travel, so cash-strapped cities and states continue to push fees and taxes onto hotel rooms, rental cars and airports. Cigarettes are about the only thing taxed more heavily among consumer purchases.