Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is the City of Mason Biting the Hand that Feeds with new Addmission Tax?

Guest post contributed by Corby Samson, concerned resident of Mason and CAAST reader.

Kings Island has attracted millions upon millions of visitors since it's grand opening in 1972. The Beach Waterpark right across the street is also a huge draw. These two tourist attractions just 30 miles north of Cincinnati became so popular that they drew in the construction of the Great Wolf Lodge, a massive hotel and indoor waterpark resort which became yet another tourist attraction and successful business in the area. Together, these companies have helped spawn massive amounts of economic development and tax revenue over the years for Deerfield Township. Those benefits were passed on to Mason when the entire Kings Island property and much of the surrounding area was annexed by Mason in 1999.

So you have three major tourist attractions in your area, one of which (Kings Island) has basically been the catalyst to your city's rapid growth and success (Kings Island itself was nothing but farm houses before it was constructed) since it's inception in 1972 and you want to tax them even more? That's exactly what the city of Mason wants to do. To be fair they've been discussing it for years, but just recently actually made some progress on it. The only reason they haven't voted on it is because not all of their council members were present at their most recent meeting.

Now, Mason wan'ts even more! Councilman Tony Bradburn tells the Dayton Daily News:
“There are expenses related to that number of people [the visitors to the taxed amusement facilities] and I believe those people should help pay for it, rather than the citizens of Mason subsidizing their operation.”
Bradburn is calling for a 3% tax on admissions and a 5% tax on parking facilities.

Now, pardon me, but someone here is getting greedy. These business owners and their amusement properties already pay taxes to Mason and even all of their employees, regardless of where they live, get taxed on their paychecks by the city. Kings Mills Rd., the main thoroughfare in front of Kings Island, the Great Wolf Lodge, The Beach and countless other businesses is currently being repaved and reconstructed by the Ohio Department of Transportation and funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, not the city of Mason. While Mason does provide fire and police services to these facilities, they're already taxing these properties once and every single one of their employees, how much more could they possibly need?

This nation is in an economic downturn. Kings Island is the backbone of the Mason economy and places like amusement parks are feeling the downturn too. Now, in spite of this, the city of Mason wants to tax these businesses even more and drive their ticket and parking prices up (both of which mnay readers will agree are already too exorberent for the average family), which could turn off even more visitors who are already being choosy with where they're spending their money in the current recession.

Is the Mason City Council really this stupid?


  1. Yes, they're really that stupid. But hey, they can't help it. They're a government, and that's just what governments do. Be grateful it's only a few percent. Once Mason discovers passenger rail transportation, it'll be in double digits.

  2. Doesn't bother me. I get queasy just thinking about going on roller coasters... or really, anything that rides on rails.

  3. Due to reduced tax revenue from the economic downturn, they are probably looking to plug holes in their budget. They shouldn't be allowed to do this because the economy will pickup sometime, but no tax has ever been temporary.

  4. I did a little digging to answer some questions. I found an article with some discussion from folks in Mason about this. One person wondered if KI charged sales tax on tickets, but it appears that Ohio does not tax amusement park admission (some states do). I do know that other municipalities charge a tax on tickets (for instance, it appears Cincy has a 2.5% tax). Again a cursory look, Cincinnati doesn't have a parking tax, but other muncipalities do (Pittsburgh is at 50%!).

    I was surprised that Kings Island is not in the Top 10 employers in Mason. They have some pretty heavy hitters there, P&G (with more jobs transferring in too), Luxxotica, Cintas, Mason School District (those four have over 6000 employees in 2008, last #'s on Mason's website).

    Anyway, I can't fault any municipality trying to figure out how to fund and provide the services that their residents require. I've been wondering lately how other countries do taxes on state and municipal levels. We have such a hodgepodge and it creates such a ruckus that it makes it difficult to have a good discussion about proper funding and equitable taxation. Admission and parking taxes (along with hotel taxes, etc.) are ways to pass that cost off on folks not from your city.

    Just a few thoughts. Back to work, I must go!

  5. Its nice to know. The Government do their way of duty.