Mayor Backs Fidler’s Proposal To Extend Hotel Tax

Lewis A. Fidler

Councilman Fidler’s plan to extend a city-imposed increase of the hotel tax just got a major endorsement from a former opponent: Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, who opposed the proposal when it was first implemented two years ago, has embraced the plan as way to keep the city’s coffers filled during the current economic difficulties.

“Ideally, we would let it expire now, but the budget situation remains dire and we can’t lose the revenue,” a spokesperson for the mayor told Wall Street Journal. “It’s a temporary extension of the current rate and the impact is primarily on out-of-towners.”

The support comes on the heels of Bloomberg’s order to all city agencies to slash expenses by a total of $2 billion during the next 18 months. The increase would generate approximately $90 million through June 2013.

The hotel industry is still opposed to the plan, saying it would hurt tourism – which, in the time since the tax was increased in 2009 has hit record numbers. Fidler, though, is happy for the support, saying it will help the Council push it through before the holiday season.

“It would be, in my view, unconscionable to allow the Christmas tourist season to come and go without tapping into this revenue,” he told the Journal. “That’s just nuts.”