Sunday, January 27, 2008

Space-rental tax isn't keeping RV owners away from Tucson, AZ

When Pima County implemented its RV-space-rental tax, recreational-vehicle owners around the country threatened to boycott Tucson.

Pima County's RV parks 10 years later have plenty of customers. It's the revenue from the tax that never materialized.

The 50-cents-a-day tax, originally predicted to bring in more than $800,000 a year, has generated a little more than $2 million total in the 10 years it has been in effect.

If the RV tax had brought in the $8 million the county anticipated, it would have more than covered the difference.

Pima County is the only county in Arizona with such a tax, and the Legislature later revoked the ability of other counties to impose the tax.

The first winter the tax was in place, RV park managers around the Tucson area reported low occupancy rates, whereas those in Benson and Yuma were overflowing.

But those people have been replaced by new retirees who don't know about the controversy involving the tax and come to Tucson for their own reasons.

And RV park managers don't go out of their way to educate new tenants.

"It's not as publicized now," said JoAnn Sanford, operations manager at the Far Horizons Tucson Village Resort on the East Side.

"When you quote your rates, you just say 'plus tax.' When they see what it's for, they don't like it, but it's not making people not come to Tucson. I hate to say it, but it hasn't affected us like we thought it would."
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