May. 13, 2015

HARRISBURG – The House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee today overwhelmingly passed legislation authored by state Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-Hellam) that would give York County commissioners a key tool they and county tourism officials have requested in the effort to further promote local destinations and attractions. House Bill 794 may now be considered by the full House.

“State government is often responsible for placing costly mandates on local government,” said Gillespie. “This is a case of the opposite – county government reaching out and up for something which they desperately need, and Harrisburg coming through. I look forward to a future House vote on this legislation.”

House Bill 794 would give 54 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, including York County, the option to increase their maximum hotel room tax from three percent to five percent. The legislation will fill a funding gap and bring York County in line with its Adams, Dauphin and Lancaster County neighbors, whose hotel tax rate is already at five percent.

“It is important to note this gives county government the option of moving from three to five percent,” Gillespie added. “In the case of York County, the choice is obvious. You might think that York County’s lower tax rate puts us at a competitive advantage. In fact, the reduced revenue places us at a disadvantage over nearby counties that have the five percent rate in place.”

York County Convention and Visitors Bureau (YCCVB) President Anne Druck today released the following statement on House Bill 794:

“The York County tourism community thanks Representative Gillespie and all lawmakers who have supported and today voted in favor of House Bill 794. If enacted into law, this important measure would level an unequal playing field for tourism funding that has existed for several years in Pennsylvania.

“As state funding has dwindled, the ability of counties to raise their own revenue for tourism promotion has become increasingly important. But at the same time, some jurisdictions have been prevented from increasing their locally enacted taxes on room nights, while others are allowed to bring in more revenue with a higher tax rate.

“The YCCVB has continued to push for an equitable funding landscape to ensure counties across the Commonwealth are able to, if they choose, generate additional tourism marketing dollars to fund a vital industry that has such a broad-based, positive impact on our local economies and our Commonwealth. We ask for the continued support of lawmakers to get this important legislation for communities across Pennsylvania to the finish line.”

Questions about this or any legislative issue may be directed to Gillespie’s district office by calling (717) 840-4711.

Representative Keith Gillespie
47th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Scott Little