Denver Tax Hike Dropped

DENVER -- The Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCVB) last week withdrew its proposal for a 1% rental tax increase aimed at financing a tourism marketing campaign.

"The proposal had a lodging and a car rental component to it, and at the 11th hour, we said this is getting complicated," said Bill Mitchell, director of government and community affairs at the DMCVB. As a result, the proposed car rental tax was dropped.

The plan for a rental tax increase had been discussed since the beginning of this year, but it was only formally on the table for a couple of weeks.

Revenues from the proposed tax were expected to add about $2.8 million to the marketing budget. Mitchell said the rental companies would ultimately benefit because the marketing plan would increase tourism. The DMCVB looked at the proposed tax as a reinvestment for the rental car business.

However, not everyone agreed.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car opposed the proposal, arguing that 90% of its Denver-area business was local. In response, the DMCVB recognized that car rental companies "are an important part of the tourism industry" and pulled the bid to avoid conflict.

"We didn't want a public fight," Mitchell said.

But he warned that car rental could be targeted to fund future public projects.

"You guys have opened yourselves up to getting taxed on a number of capital projects coming in the city and county of Denver that need to be funded," Mitchell said of the rental companies. "Politically, car rentals are going to be looked at, and we're not going to help them."

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