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Best and worst cities for travel taxes

Cash-strapped cities are putting an increasing financial burden on business travelers, who now must lay out as much as 16 percent of their daily travel budget for taxes, according to new research by the Global Business Travel Association.

With the federal government considering doubling Transportation Security Administration taxes, the tax costs associated with travel are just getting worse, said GBTA executive director Michael McCormick. "Road warriors strengthen the economy, create jobs and drive economic security, yet governments insist on treating travelers like their ATM."

The amount travelers pay in taxes varies markedly from city to city, with Chicago levying the heaviest toll. Between hotel taxes, state and local fees on car rentals, and tax levies on meals, Chicago visitors pay $41.04 on a one-day trip with an average cost of $256, according to the study. Travel taxes are lower in the tourist-friendly states of California and Florida, which boast seven of the 10 cities that impose the lowest tax burdens on travelers.

The GBTA studied 50 top travel destinations in the U.S. in order to calculate the tax burden based on a single night's stay. To isolate taxes, the study used national average room costs of $105.31 per night; a car rental cost of $57.05; and daily meal expenses of $93.32, for a total one day outlay of $255.68. Where tax costs are set as a percentage of spending, they were calculated using these spending amounts. In some cases, however, taxes are set as a flat fee. Boston, for example, levies a $10 daily tax on rental cars.

The cities that levy the biggest taxes on travelers?

1. Chicago: $41.04
2. New York: $38.65
3. Minneapolis: $36.70
4. Kansas City, Mo: $36.61
5. Indianapolis: $36.00
6. Cleveland: $35.417
7. Boston: $35.32
8. Seattle: $35.11
9. Nashville, Tenn.: $34.75
10. Houston: $34.16

Metropolitan areas with the lowest tax burden on travelers:

1. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: $22.61
2. Fort Myers, Fla.: $22.61
3. West Palm Beach, Fla.: $22.61
4. Detroit: $22.80
5. Portland, Ore.: $22.86
6. Orange County, Calif: 23.61
7. Burbank, Calif: $24.59
8. Honolulu: $24.67
9. Ontario, Calif: $24.93
10. Orlando, Fla.: $24.94

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