Counties, the TAT is now your problem too!

For many years, the counties and the state have been bickering about how much support from the state’s transient accommodations tax (TAT) they should get to help fund county infrastructure. County systems like fire, police, and parks maintenance undeniably help tourists, too, and the argument was that the tourist tax should help the counties out. In 2009, for example, the law provided that 44.8% of the tax, after satisfying earmarks, would be distributed to the counties using specific percentages. That was when the TAT rate was 7.25%. The rate crept up to 9.25% in 2013, but the percentage was changed to a fixed dollar amount. The counties complained about their allocations, and in the following year the Legislature had a state-county functions working group recommend an appropriate allocation of TAT revenues. The working group recommended to the 2015 Legislature that the percentage allocation of the TAT be restored, but the Legislature balked. The fixed amount allocated to the counties went up and down slightly over the years, and is now at $103 million, while the TAT rate is 10.25%.