Under Tommy Normant's tax bill, the burden of paying for tourist advertising will shift to the wallets of the residents of James City County, Williamsburg and York County from the tourists who visit the area.
One example of that shift is the repeal of the $2 a day transient fee collected on every hotel room rented. In order to recover that amount, each tourist will have to spend $200 a day on goods to which the tax is applied. I don't see that happening unless the tax is applied to everything one purchases, from the daily newspaper to the hotel room and on to the cup of coffee one drinks. Fortunately, for many of us, the stores here in Williamsburg are duplicated in Newport News and Hampton.
To ease the burden of this tax on residents, there are several things which can be done to help.
Colonial Williamsburg should be made to issue free annual passes to all residents of the three jurisdictions as they once did; Busch Gardens should offer steeply discounted passes as should all other tourist attractions that receive benefits from the tax. And how the tax windfall is spent by each jurisdiction should be clearly spelled out before any tax money is distributed.
Additionally, Sue Sadler's proposed tax reduction should be implemented in James City County, but with the bulk of the tax relief going to homeowners' property taxes and a lesser amount going to business taxes.
Finally, Tommy Normant should retire from the legislature and serve his true master, Colonial Williamsburg. The actions by which he attempted to sneak a tax hike past his constituents that would primarily benefit Colonial Williamsburg clearly shows where his loyalties lie.
William L. Maner