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Hoteliers: We’re don’t want to pay for new El Paso ballpark

Proposed El Paso ballpark

Hotel and motel owners are opposing a hike in the local hotel tax to help pay for a new downtown El Paso ballpark housing a Pacific Coast League team, but it’s not clear whether they have the political muscle to kill the proposal.

Taxing visitors via hotel and car taxes is always a popular way to pay for sporting facilities, because locals don’t bear the brunt of the costs. Hotel owners, of course, hate the idea of raising the cost of a stay in the city; while very few folks factor in the cost of the tax when they’re pricing hotel rooms, a high tax could leave a bad taste in the mouths of departing guests.

So the El Paso Hotel/Motel Association is against raising the local hotel tax two percentage points to 17.5 percent. That would be the highest tax rate in the state. Whether or not the association will organize to oppose a fall referendum on the tax hike is another matter: it’s one thing to raise concerns in the hope of a concession or two, and it’s another to actively campaign against the ballot measure that’s already proven to be politically popular.

Under a ballpark plan passed by the city, a new $50-million ballpark could open for the 2014 season.

Image courtesy of the City of El Paso.

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