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Proposed water quality law may decrease tourism

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-18 18:16:53-04

Erie County Legislator, Patrick Burke, is trying to improve water quality in the area, by proposing a law that would raise hotel taxes by 3%.

Two of that 3% hotel occupancy tax will help homeowners and municipalities cover the high cost of sewer line replacements and other work ordered by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Legislator Burke says the other 1% will be used to help increase tourism.

"We are building hotels, we need to get those hotel rooms filled," said Burke. "We need to fund tourism to make sure that happens so that we can again increase resources for water quality."

However, CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara, Patrick Kaler, says this will be a huge burden to the hotel industry.

"I am very confident that our hotel industry would be against this type of initiative because it is a major jump, especially with all the competition that we have in our destination," said Kaler.

Kaler added that currently, tourists staying in hotels are paying a 5% bed tax, and that raising it 3% would put us on the high end in New York State.

The water quality relief law will be submitted to the legislature later this week.