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Inside NOVA: Arlington tourism-tax measure passes House of Delegates, heads to Northam PDF Print E-mail

BY: Scott McCaffrey, Staff Writer

Created: March 2, 2018

More than a dozen Republican members of the House of Delegates voted against, but Arlington’s effort to retain its ability to levy a surtax on hotel stays to pay for tourism promotion is headed to the governor’s desk.

The House of Delegates voted 82-17 on Feb. 28 in support of legislation, patroned by state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd), that extends for another three years the taxing authority.

The state Senate previously had passed the measure on a 30-8 vote.

The two bodies differed on whether a three-year “sunset” clause should be attached to the taxing authority – the Senate said no, the House said yes – but Howell has said she would accept it, so there should be little trouble for the two houses to reconcile the bill and send it to Gov. Northam.

Arlington’s business and hospitality community backed the measure, which allows the Arlington government to add a 0.25-percent surtax to hotel stays. The resulting revenue – about $1.2 million – funds Arlington Economic Development’s tourism efforts.

The taxing authority had been in place for 21 years when the General Assembly stripped it in 2011. The authority was restored in 2016 with a two-year sunset provision, requiring county officials to come back this year for reauthorization.

A companion bill patroned by Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th) died without consideration in the House Committee on Finance.