Meeting to consider House Bill 794

Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

10:30 P.M.

Room 8E-A – East Wing (Main Capitol)

Agenda



House Bill 794, Printer’s No. 1842 (Gillespie) | Bill Summary, amends The County Code (Act 130 of 1955) by repealing sections 1770.2 (relating to authorization of excise tax) and 1770.6 (relating to authorization of hotel tax) and providing for a Hotel Room Rental Tax in 3rd through 8th class counties through the addition of {new} sections that would consolidate these provisions, incorporate various reforms, increase the maximum tax rate allowed from 3% to 5% and create a more specific process for the certification and decertification of recognized tourist promotion agencies (TPAs).

  • [A03748] (Ward) Amendment Summary – This amendment accomplishes the following:
    • It tweaks subsection (d) in relation to the allowable categories in regards to how tax revenues may be spent by further clarifying/specifying tax revenues may be spent on tourism or travel related purposes as indicated.
    • In subsection (d), paragraphs (4) & (5) the term “expenditures” is added.
    • In subsection (d), paragraph (4) the following is specified with regard to grants:
      • Grants require a cash or in-kind local match of at least 25%.
      • Grants may not be used for signage that promotes a specific private entity on the situs of that entity, except where the signage also carries the logo of a recognized tourist promotion agency.
    • Adds {new} subsection (g) that provides in relation to the failure of a TPA to submit its required audit or financial statement as follows:
      • County may withhold tax revenues after ninety (90) days of the end of the TPA’s fiscal year until such is submitted.
      • The Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) may require the county (in the event the county has not taken action) to withhold tax revenues after one hundred twenty days (120) days of the end of the TPA’s fiscal year until such is submitted.
    • Adds {new} subsection (h) that provides any board member, director, officer or employee of a TPA shall disclose any conflict of interest or financial interest and recuse himself or herself from any action on behalf of the TPA which may result in a private pecuniary benefit to the individual, a member of the individual’s immediate family or a business with which associated.
      • Definitions of the following terms are added in subsection that defined various words and phrases:
        • “Conflict of interest.” Use by a board member, director, officers or employee of a TPA of the authority of his or her office or employment or any confidential information received through his or her capacity in relation to a recognized tourist promotion agency for the private pecuniary benefit of himself or herself, a member of his or her immediate family or a business with which he or she or a member of his or her immediate family is associated. The term does not include an action having a de minimis economic impact or which affects to the same degree a class consisting of the general public or a subclass consisting of an industry, occupation or other group which includes a board member, director, officer or employee, a member of his or her immediate family or business with which he or she or a member of his or her immediate family is associated.
        • “Immediate family.” A spouse, parent, brother, sister or child.
    • Reduces the maximum administrative fee from 5% to 4% and clarifies that the percentage is based on the taxes collected.
    • Clarifies the 1.5% penalty per month for the failure to collect and remit the Hotel Room Rental Tax is imposed upon the hotel operator.
    • The definition of “hotel” is further tweaked by eliminating duplicative language (“on campgrounds located on State land or private property”) in relation to the defined term “cabin” that is already contained in the definition of “cabin.”
    • The definition of “hotel” is further tweaked in relation to the reference to “summer camp for children” by eliminating the term “summer” as camps for children are often not limited to the summer season and may occur at other times of the year.