Reader letters, 2-1

Jan 31, 2017

Room tax headline was lacking

To the editor:

The Jan. 27 issue of The Mountaineer headlined a front-page story with the innocuous Plan OK’ed to boost tourism.  The story detailed a proposal by the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority to increase the tax on overnight accommodations in the county from 4% to 6%.  Let me suggest more revealing headlines:

The Tourism Authority proposes taxation without representation

If the tax is approved by the necessary local and state government agencies, the people who will be taxed will be primarily out-of-staters.  These temporary residents will have no opportunity to vote for or against those who are taxing them.  My ancestor shouldered his musket and served in the Virginia Militia, fighting against King George to protest exactly this wrong.  The principle is as valid now as it was in 1776.  No taxation without representation.

The Tourism Authority proposes raising the cost of visiting to entice more visitors

I fail to see how increasing the cost of a product (room occupancy) will increase the sales of that product.   Amazon, Sears and Burger King take the opposite approach.  So do the principles I learned in Economics 101.   One must wonder where the council learned their economics.

The Tourism Authority proposes taxing outsiders for Haywood County improvements

Commissioner Sorrells is said to have stated that revenue generated would be of countywide benefit.  Is this fair?  If the citizens of this county want an ice skating rink, shouldn’t we pay for it, rather than taxing visitors from Tennessee or Florida to foot the bill?


The article states several times that nearby counties impose a 6 percent rate, so it’s only fair that Haywood do so as well.  When can we justify our own misdeeds because “everybody does it?”   Politicians have, for years, endeavored to tax people who didn’t elect them and therefore can’t vote them out of office in order to offer perks to their own constituents.   This practice is contrary to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and to my own sense of fairness. Carlton Bostic


(Editor’s note: For practical purposes, a one column above-the-fold headline should be no longer than than eight characters per line (including spaces) and no longer than four lines. Otherwise, it would be too small to attract attention.)