Letters: Hotel tax is sleazy

Letter writer thinks hotel tax doesn't promote visitors

The near-failure of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce should be a lesson to business people and taxpayers – that organizations can and do fail, regardless of their status.

Unfortunately, while people rescued the chamber, it wants to force hands into the pockets of customers through an additional tax on hotel room prices. Honest business people stand on their own, profiting from voluntary relationships, they trade values rather than initiate force. The chamber should be helping make Sooke a safe place to visit by supporting more policing – for example, I know people who avoid Langford due to bad experiences, and read that drunk partiers have been a problem to the west.

Tax grabs on hotel rooms and car rentals are especially sleazy as they target people who can’t vote the enabling politicians out of office. But as people watch their money these days, they’ll vote with their feet by not returning. I avoid businesses who support the coercion the chamber promotes, and will recommend that visitors avoid Sooke, just as I have avoided Seattle’s car rental grab to pay for the infrastructure called “stadium.”

Michael Nyikes has some good ideas, such as cooperation among entities which tend to be ineffective but have an exaggerated notion of their importance. But using coercion is a basic flaw. In a telephone debate he repeatedly used the term “guest services fee” for what he agrees is a tax – that’s fundamentally misleading wording, because the grab is not for a service to guests, it is for the business expense of promotion.

Yes, people will claim that some businesses will get a free ride from those that do pay for promotion. But that’s the case in many respects, including publicity from newspaper articles, it isn’t a moral reason for initiating force. Nyikes uses words behind collectivist tyrannies, such as “the greater good.”

Such tax grabs are especially hypocritical of business people who benefit from freedom of migration and freedom to have a business.

Keith Sketchley

Saanich

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