IBJNews

Potential of higher car rental taxes drawing fire

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

People who come to Indianapolis for business, ball games or other reasons could pay more for their visits if local officials decide to raise taxes on car rentals and professional sports tickets early next year.

A package that state legislators passed in 2009 to bail out the agency that operates the city's stadiums and convention center allows the City-County Council to increase the taxes, but it must act during the first two months of 2013.

If the council does act, taxes on car rentals could rise from 15 percent to 17 percent and the admissions tax on Colts and Pacers tickets could increase from 6 percent to 10 percent, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The idea is drawing the ire of the local hospitality industry, which for years has complained about creeping tax rates on hotel rooms, rental cars and meals that they say burden their customers and make Indianapolis one of the highest-taxed U.S. cities for visitors.

The Indianapolis Colts and car rental agencies in particular say they're opposed to any increases.

"It would annoy customers more, especially when you factor in that ... we have to include all taxes and pricing" in Internet quotes, said Charlie Mullen, co-owner of Indianapolis-based chain ACE Rent a Car. "So it drives up the pricing of the car. It's just getting outrageous."

The city's NFL franchise doesn't want its fans to have to pay any more, either.

"It would be unfair to our ticket holders, particularly in these economic times, to be hit with an additional tax on the tickets — and not just for us, but for all the events" at CIB venues, said Dan Emerson, the Colts' vice president and general counsel. "It would be sending the wrong message."

A spokesman for the Pacers said the NBA team had no comment.

The proposal is part of ongoing budget talks between the council and Mayor Greg Ballard that also could include a new agreement with the Pacers.

Ballard said most visitors don't focus on taxes. "For the average customer who comes downtown for a convention, they ask what the overall cost of the experience is," he said. "And there's no disputing that this downtown is built up largely on visitor taxes."

The Capital Improvement Board estimates the full tax increases would bring in $6.9 million a year. The board's operating budget for next year is $63.9 million. Before the General Assembly approved the bailout in 2009, the board's cash reserves had dropped to $26 million.

The 15-percent car rental tax rate contributed to Indianapolis being ranked No. 8 on the Global Business Travel Association's list of the worst 10 cities for travel taxes in 2012. The group also considered Indianapolis' 9-percent tax on food and beverages and its 17-percent tax on hotels.

John Livengood, president of the Indiana Hotel and Lodging Association and the Indiana Restaurant Association, said he's more concerned about the car rental tax than the sports tax. It makes sense for fans who use sports facilities to help support the agency that operates them, he said.

But a higher car rental tax "would discourage people from coming to Indianapolis and spending money," he said. "That tax, like the hotel tax, is a disincentive for people to come here."

But despite the city's high travel taxes, Indianapolis hasn't been hurting for tourism.

A study released last week by Visit Indy estimated the economic impact of the tourism industry increased 10 percent last year to $3.95 million. An estimated 22 million visitors came to Indy, most of them for leisure activities.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • "the experience" - lolz
    We the People are the enableers of the Powers who are spending like drunken sailors. "Tax the outsiders" compliments well the already pervasive local xenophobia.
  • CIB
    Customers will either go along with the higher taxes or they won't. If they choose not to and it damages the local economy, the short-sighted leaders at the CIB will need to find a scapegoat. Taking responsibility for their own ineptitude is not part of that organization's culture.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1

ADVERTISEMENT