Madison considers 1 percent hotel room tax hike

Hotel door
WISC-TV

The cost of booking a hotel room in Madison could soon go up.

The Madison Common Council is considering a 1 percent room tax increase for hotels in the city.

Hotel room tax in Madison is currently 9 percent, but the proposed tax hike would move it to 10 percent.

The tax bump is expected to generate $1.8 million in city revenue. More than 80 percent of that money will go to the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau, which helps attract tourists to the city.

Members of the Room Tax Commission said if a 1 percent increase is not implemented, the visitor’s bureau will face a $350,000 budget shortfall.

“Cutting your marketing and selling arm is the wrong way to go,” said Thomas Ziarnik, a DoubleTree Hotelier who sits on the Room Tax Commission.

Ziarnik said the Room Tax Commission approached other hotels in the area about the increase. He said many hoteliers are in support of the tax bump and do not believe it will have a negative impact on business.

“A guest, when they book a room, they never ask what the sales tax rate is when they check out,” Ziarnik said. “You know, I’ve been in downtown Madison over 20 years and I can count on one hand probably the times that people ask why is the room tax so high.”

The Room Tax Commission voted unanimously in favor of the tax hike. The proposal will now go before the Madison Common Council. It will then be introduced to the Finance Committee on Monday.