The Lago Vista, Texas City Council will consider tonight an item by Councilman Pat Dixon to repeal the city’s tourist tax. Dixon is also chairman of the Libertarian Party of Texas and is also a member of the Libertarian National Committee.
Dixon’s agenda item repeals the city’s hotel occupancy tax. Under the tax, any business offering overnight lodging, particularly hotels and motels, are forced to increase the prices they charge customers, so the government can confiscate the money and then use it to promote the business.
"We tax anyone that charges for overnight lodging, take their money and put it into a government fund, then hand out some of it in order to promote those businesses. Right now we have over $140,000 of their money just sitting in city hall doing nothing. Does that sound like a free market? It’s not, it’s socialism," said Dixon.
"Yet defenders of this tax say that the tax benefits these businesses. That is not the opinion of the business owners who wrote letters supporting the repeal of it. Defenders of this tax say that people don’t complain about it. That’s right, they just look at the artificially inflated price of the room and decide not to pay it."
Dixon’s point is simple. Businesses should be able to promote themselves without government help, and offering a lower price by repealing the tax would do more to attract visitors than a government-run program.
And as a former local government staffer, I can tell you the single biggest reason local government officials get into the "economic development" game is that it forces businesses — and their deep political contribution funds — to take a vested interest in who gets elected to office.
Dixon hopes to break that cycle and bring more job opportunity and economic activity to Lago Vista.