Our Fair Share - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1803402

Our Fair Share

The time has come to once again challenge and verify the taxation of our visitors that come to the East End.

The 3 percent hotel occupancy tax that has been collected each year amounts to a substantial revenue source for Suffolk County. The hotel tax, in the past, was to basically support the costs for Discover Long Island (aka Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau) to market Long Island as a preferred destination.

Over the years, this hotel occupancy tax has been tapped for many other Suffolk County projects, not for what the tax was initially intended for, whereby East Hampton receives an extremely low benefit or percentage return for its contribution. There has never been a fair and equitable distribution of the funds collected.

Looking at this from an objective point of view, with a good bit of logic, I would like to see the tax reevaluated and either seek a reduction or a greater portion of the revenue returned to the East End. These funds can be used to beautify our towns’ appearance and/or fund a more detailed maintenance program. Besides, isn’t beautification of a product (our towns) part of a marketing strategy?

I am a past president of the Long Island Hotel Association, and we were able to prevent an even further tax increase attempt to exceed the 3 percent. Consider that approximately 20 years ago the hotel occupancy tax was 0.75 percent. Now, at a 3 percent tax, with the multitude of additional hotels that have been developed over the years, you can imagine the windfall revenues that Suffolk County enjoys as part of their income.

We need to demand our fair share.

Ken Walles

East Hampton

Mr. Walles is a candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor — Ed.