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Philadelphia Hotel Owners Change Stance On Hotel Tax Hike

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Hotel managers and owners in Philadelphia have done an about-face and now say they oppose a plan to raise the city's hotel tax. The group changed its stance Thursday as a city council committee approved the plan.

When the tax hike proposal was first introduced, the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association said it supported the plan so long as the extra cash was earmarked for two groups that promote tourism. But a week later, the Association's chairman, Jim Gratton, told a city council committee his group now opposes the measure. The hoteliers, he said, were refused stronger representation on the board of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.

"So at this point," Gratton says, "until that is ironed out, we as an association are withdrawing our support to this bill."

The proposal would raise the tax from 1.2% to 1.5%, a hike estimated to costs guests about an extra fifty cents per night.

The revenue, estimated at $2-million a year, would be evenly split between the GPTMC and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Despite the opposition of the hotel group, Council's Finance Committee approved the tax hike and a final vote is expected next week.

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