Labor Union Opposes San Mateo County Travel Taxes

Teamsters Local 853 joined with local and national travel industry leaders to urge San Mateo County residents to vote “No” on new tax measures, the U.S. Travel Association reports, saying the tax hikes threaten local economic growth. The announcement is the latest signal of the strong opposition building against the sweeping travel tax measures proposed by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, the Association says.

“A new tax won’t put anyone to work, won’t boost anyone’s paycheck, and won’t help create a better living for the working men and women of San Mateo County,” said Daniel Varela, Teamsters Local 853 business agent.

Teamsters Local 853 opposes Measure T which would add a 2.5 percent tax on rental car businesses. Its members include rental car employees at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). “Our members know that more travelers coming to SFO mean more jobs.  Instead of deterring visitors by raising taxes, the Board of Supervisors should be concentrating on policies that will generate jobs and strengthen wages.”

U.S.Travel says the proposed rental car tax will appear on the June 5th ballot along with measures U and X. Measure U would boost the hotel occupancy tax on SFO-area hotels by 20 percent and Measure X establishes a new 8 percent levy on parking at SFO and local hotels.

“Travel workers and business leaders are in lock-step agreement when it comes to these proposed measures: Higher travel taxes will drive visitors away, right when they’re needed most to sustain local jobs and economic growth,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.

A recent survey jointly-conducted by San Francisco Travel Association, U.S. Travel Association, and Meeting Professionals International, found that should these measures become law, over 40 percent of travel and meeting industry professionals would  reconsider holding their next meeting or event in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Raising taxes on travelers is the last thing we need during a time of sputtering growth and a stagnant jobs market,” said Joe D’Alessandro, the president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association. “We simply cannot afford to take on more taxes, or risk losing visitors.”

The travel industry is one of the Bay Area’s top five employers and generates $21 billion in local spending, U.S.Travel says.