Letter: The Cost of Tourists

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Kudos to J.J. Gasparotti for continuing to expose the true cost of tourists to our city. The city needs to mine tourists for money to at least cover our costs. Currently, the city uses about $20 million of your property tax dollars to make up for the shortfall, which equals about $2,000 per parcel.

You, the Laguna voter, can put in place fees and taxes on tourist-related businesses which benefit from tourists, particularly restaurants and bars, as our alcohol enforcement costs are much larger than for most cities our size due to the large number of tourists that consume alcohol while visiting Laguna. Voters can implement the following revenue generating policies: business tax/gross on receipts at restaurants and bars, broaden the transient occupancy (TOT) levy to additional goods and services, a city business gross receipts tax, a parcel tax on commercial land parcels, a fee on Pageant admissions, or a city income tax on Laguna businesses.

The city council can increase parking fees and add parking meters, or charge user fees for the trolley system. All of the above should at least be considered. About two-thirds of business and commercial property is owned by non-residents. Why should Laguna residents have to subsidize them with their property tax dollars?

George Orff, Laguna Beach

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  1. I agree that tourists may pose a substantial burden to our local economy. We do have to realize that this taxation will not just apply to tourists in Laguna Beach, but residents as well. At first glance it may not seem like much, but when we dive deeper and take a look, we must consider that:

    The potential tax added to the cost of alcohol impacts LOCALS as well. Because alcohol is one of the highest taxed ‘sin’ items already, this additional alcohol tax will burden the locals who already pay enormous dues. We already pay a lot to live here–we want to be able to afford going to the bars and restaurants.


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