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Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 10:39pm
El Paso — The new baseball stadium coming to downtown El Paso has sparked a big fued amongst El Paso businesses. Dozens of hotels are withdrawing their membership from the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce saying the chamber no longer supports them.
Back in early September the chamber announced its support of a proposed two percent increase in the city's hotel occupancy tax to pay for the stadium, but the hotel industry argues that's too much, and says the chamber should have stayed out of the debate.
"It's something that's obviously making it difficult for our industry to be able to compete, with the higher tax rate, that's what we're concerned about," said Danny Padilla, the President of of the El Paso Hotel Motel Association.
The Hotel Motel Association is now asking its members to withdraw their memberships from the Chamber of Commerce, but Chamber President Richard Dayoub argues the tax hike is the only way to pay for ball park.
"Arlington for Cowboys stadium, the Rangers, a whole history of other venues across the nation are paid for by your hotel occupancy tax or your car rental tax. It's just the way business is done," Dayoub says.
If voters approve the tax hike in November, hotel rates would rise from 15.5% to 17.5%, making El Paso home to the highest hotel occupancy tax rate in the state. However, it will still cost less to stay at a hotel in El Paso, compared to most other cities across the state.
"It may very well become the highest tax rate in the state but our hotel average rate is still significantly lower than every single metro in the state," said Dayoub.
Hotel Motel Association President Danny Padilla isn't buying it. He says hotels have no other choice than to distance themselves from the chamber.
"This industry is being targeted solely for that specific venue and we would ask that we get some support, especially from an organization like the chamber," he said.
Dayoub hopes the Hotel Motel Association will come around, saying the added fee will only average a dollar or two increase on every hotel bill.