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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Good reason to stay home


Visitors pay among the highest travel taxes in the nation when they come to Indianapolis — 17 percent on hotel rates, 15 percent on rental cars and 9 percent on meals.

That adds up to an average single-day, combined travel tax of $34.19, according to the Global Business Travel Association, which ranked Indianapolis No. 8 on its list of the worst 10 cities for travel taxes.

The rankings are based on the amount of hotel, car rental and meal taxes paid by travelers in the top 50 travel destinations in the United States.

Although Indianapolis officials say the city is still making great gains in visitors and is competitive with its convention-city peers' taxes, some in the hospitality industry say those taxes hurt business and are calling for them to be rolled back.

"We just keep inching up," said John Livengood, president of the Indiana Hotel and Lodging Association and president and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant Association. "If we want people to come here and spend money and help out, we are kind of shooting ourselves in the foot."

Shooting themselves in the foot? A little higher, I'd say. A combined tax of $34.19 a day for the privilege of visiting the city? That's just short of outrageous. If my sister didn't live in Indy, I doubt there'd be anything attractive enough to get me there to pay those kind of taxes.


Andrew J.
Wed, 10/03/2012 - 1:49pm

Chicago and NYC are 1 and 2 in highest taxes for visitors; doesn't seem to be hurting their ability to attract tourists.


tim zank
Wed, 10/03/2012 - 2:37pm

Good point Andrew, the similarities between NYC, Chicago and Indy are just overwhelming.

Andrew J.
Wed, 10/03/2012 - 3:42pm

So are you implying the mecca of Hoosierdom is not a world class destination? That the best Indiana has to offer is of a second-tier nature?


tim zank
Wed, 10/03/2012 - 7:12pm

Nothing gets past you seasoned newspaper pro's does it AJ?

Andrew J.
Thu, 10/04/2012 - 8:14am

Mistaken in that I believed you Hoosiers were proud of your cities and communities, extolling how they stack up well with the rest of the country.


tim zank
Thu, 10/04/2012 - 8:49am

Nice try AJ, but even us rubes in fly-over country wouldn't be foolish enough to make a claim that Indy was on par in any way shape or form with NYC...That type of claim would only be made facetiously by a condescending pseudo-intellectual trying desperately to fill a void within his empty life by disparaging the citizens of a state that obviously caused some sort of professional embarassment.

What was it that Indiana did to make you so bitter and force you to relocate in the cultural Mecca that is Florida?

Andrew J.
Thu, 10/04/2012 - 12:52pm

Acutally, every time I visited Indy (and it was often at one time) I always found it top-notch so I don't know why someone would be kvetching because the daily tax to visit there was $34. And if a city is in the upper level of places to visit, a tourist should expect to pay.

That is all. Have a good day.



Christopher Swing
Thu, 10/04/2012 - 7:45pm

Christ Zank. Bitter, hateful, and defensive enough there?

Harl Delos
Thu, 10/04/2012 - 8:14pm

If you're looking for a cheap place to stay, maybe central Montana is your cup of tea.  If you're going to Indianapolis to see a Colts game, shouldn't your accomodations be taxed sufficiently to pay for the stadium where they play, rather than tax the locals who cannot afford the high ticket prices?

There are an awful lot of conventions being held in Las Vegas - but not because the room tax is low. It's because the hotels are casinos that offer gambling, expensive boutiques, great restaurants, and high class whores who don't run into trouble with the local constables as long as their customers don't feel abused.