Plan to tax online hotel bills stalls in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A proposal to tax the booking markups of online travel companies — including Expedia and Travelocity — has stalled at the Ohio Statehouse.

The state Senate stripped the House-passed measure from the $61.7 billion, two-year budget passed Thursday. It proposed imposing Ohio’s lodging tax on fees charged by the sites.

The Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association argues online companies should pay taxes not only on the wholesale room rate they receive from the hotel but also on the higher retail rate they charge customers.

The online companies contend the markup covers their services, not hotel rent, so shouldn’t be taxed.

A 2011 analysis estimated losses to state and local governments from not taxing the markups at $275 million to $400 million annually.

The measure could resurface in budget compromise talks.

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