Mining Exchange
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The Mining Exchange, a Wyndham Grand Hotel, in downtown Colorado Springs. CAROL LAWRENCE, THE GAZETTE 02/25/13

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Colorado Springs hotels might not be cheap, but guests who book a room here pay among the nation’s lowest lodging tax rates, a new study shows.

The Springs’ tax rate on overnight hotel stays ranks No. 141 out of 150 cities, says the seventh annual Lodging Tax Report by HVS Convention Entertainment Facilities Consulting of Chicago, a division of the New York-based global hospitality industry giant HVS.

City-by-city lodging taxes in the HVS report actually are a combination of rates levied by local and state governments. The rates don’t include special fees that hotels might tack on.

In Colorado Springs, guests pay a nightly tax rate of 10.25 percent, which consists of the city’s 3.12 percent sales tax, the state’s 2.9 percent sales tax, the city’s 2 percent lodging tax, El Paso County’s 1.23 percent sales tax and the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority’s 1 percent sales tax.

Denver is tied for No. 49 in the report with a combined rate of 14.75 percent. St. Louis’ 17.9 percent rate is the highest in the report; the lowest, 8 percent, is in Hopper, Calif., east of Los Angeles.

Colorado Springs’ combined lodging rate is a bargain, comparatively speaking, said Doug Price, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau. Even so, the bureau isn’t seeking to increase the city’s lodging tax, he said.

The 2 percent portion of the city’s lodging tax is part of the Lodgers and Auto Rental Tax, commonly called LART, which also levies a 1 percent tax on auto rentals. Those rates have remained unchanged since LART went on the books in 1980.

Colorado Springs’ LART raises roughly $6 million a year, Price said. Almost 60 percent of that revenue goes to the Convention and Visitors Bureau, which uses the money to promote local tourism, he said.

While Price said the bureau isn’t looking for a lodging tax hike, an increase would give the agency more resources for marketing. And more visitors to the Springs means more money pumped into hotels, restaurants, stores and the like.

“At 2 percent lodging and 1 percent auto rental, we are missing a great opportunity to better our community, and other cities do it better than we do,” Price said.

“It allows organizations like ours to be able to put advertising and promotions together that invite people to come here and invest in our economy for a week or so, or a day. With all that’s happening with the City for Champions (tourism) projects and the new hotel development and everything else, we are going to need additional resources to invite people to come and visit and know all the things there are to do here.”

Business writer, Colorado Springs Gazette

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