Bies Weighs In on Room Tax Changes

Assembly Representative Garey Bies, a Republican from Sister Bay, wrote legislation to tweak Wisconsin room tax collection and make sure municipalities use 70 percent of their room tax collection for marketing the area to tourists.

Bies didn’t know what agency is charged with enforcing room tax rules, but said it was likely low on the list of priorities for busy state employees. He said this legislation will push more municipalities into compliance.

Since Door County already follows room tax rules, Bies doesn’t expect the changes to affect the way local tourism leaders collect, distribute and use room tax dollars.

Illustration by Ryan Miller.

Another portion of the legislation would allow innkeepers to keep three percent of their room tax collection (that amounts to 16.5 cents per $100 room) to offset the cost of collecting room tax. The idea is to offset the cost of processing credit cards, but the current draft of the legislation doesn’t specifically mention credit cards so theoretically a business that doesn’t accept credit cards could keep the three percent.

That will likely be fixed in an amendment, Bies said.

“We’ve got a number of things that have come up since the hearing… we’re going to address in an amendment,” Bies said. “[The credit card fee] is one we’re going to take a look at. We’ll work out some ways so [innkeepers] will have to show some proof of what they’re paying so they’re only reimbursed for actual costs.”

Read more about room tax reform here>>