A bill that I worked on with my Democratic colleague, Delegate Mary-Dulany James, was recommitted back to committee. HB 1395 promoted tourism and economic growth in Harford County and would have given the Harford County Council the authority to impose a hotel rental tax, up to 6 percent.
Many local businesses in the Route 40 corridor contacted me, as well as: County Executive David Craig, Mayor Mike Bennett, of Aberdeen, and Mayor Wayne Dougherty, of Havre de Grace, to support legislation for tourism and economic growth for the County. Because this is not a tax on the citizens of Harford County, but a way to support local development, I helped to get it out of committee by co-sponsoring the bill. Today, after one of our Harford County Delegates asked questions about the bill, it was sent back to the committee, where it is buried for another year
The hotel rental tax would not have affected Harford County residents or individuals of lower income who usually stay in hotels with less than 25 or fewer sleeping rooms that are three miles off of the interstate.
This is a good bill, especially since Harford County is the only jurisdiction in Maryland that does not impose a hotel rental tax. This enabling legislation that would have to be approved by the County Council is a way to get the money back that we are spending out of state and bring it into our local economy.
Harford County, especially Aberdeen and Havre de Grace, which lost 90 percent of their highway user revenue, would have benefited highly from this bill. The $3.1 million would have also helped support tourism-related businesses in Harford County which would have benefited from increased funding for county promotions. Every dollar the county spends on tourism is estimated to generate $20 worth of revenue.
I'd like to repeat, I am not for taxing our citizens. However, this is not a tax on Harford County residents; it is a means to increase tourism in our wonderful county. The hotels are for it, the county executive and the mayors are for it and I am for this bi-partisan legislation because it is good for our businesses to have more people coming to our county.
Del. Glen Glass
Southern and eastern Harford District 34Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun