With fierce competition for tourists' dollars nationwide, York's hospitality industry and many business leaders have rallied around state Rep. Keith Gillespie's move in Harrisburg to level the playing field so York County can compete fairly.

I support Keith's effort, and I respect his courage and leadership on this issue.

His legislation will protect jobs in restaurants, hotels, shops and stores. It will help the Convention and Visitors Bureau find new events and tell event organizers why York is a great place to locate their meetings, conventions or sporting events. It will also help the Expo Center do a great job hosting those events.

At this time, Lancaster, Dauphin and Adams counties are allowed to collect $5 from every $100 a visitor spends on a local hotel room. York County is only allowed to collect three dollars. It isn't fair, and Keith wants to change this because, under existing law, the counties around us have more money to invest in promoting their locations.

The bill he has introduced is overdue.

It is not a tax increase. It is economic development. It allows York to do what other neighboring counties do already, if local leaders decide to increase funding. In fact, Rep. Gillespie's bill will level the room tax cap for all Third Class Counties in the commonwealth.

Out-of-town visitors shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants and sleep in local hotels. Travel and tourism feed a healthy local economy. Event organizers like what they find here. In many cases, they return to York year after year.

We need to make sure we have the tools to support and promote these activities.


York County Agricultural Society

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