Greater Miami bed tax could plummet 12% through most of this year
By Scott E. Pacheco
Miami-Dade County could see some bed tax collections plummet 12% through the end of September as tourism declines, a top tourism official says.
The projection far exceeds a 2% falloff predicted by the county manager, who is depending on bed taxes to help fund a Florida Marlins stadium.
Questioned during the Feb. 17 county commission meeting, William D. Talbert III, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the 12% drop in Tourist Development Tax collections is projected through "the balance of this fiscal year."
County officials plan on bed taxes to fund up to $326 million for the ballpark.
Already, bed taxes have fallen 2.48%, 2.33%, 9.13% and 8.5% each month from September through December, respectively, according to Miami-Dade.
County Manager George Burgess wrote in a memo to commissioners that after a 2% dip this year, collections would remain static in 2010 and 2011 before settling into long-term growth.
"While near-term tourist tax revenues are not anticipated to grow at levels experienced in recent years, at this time we feel comfortable that these revenue sources have the capacity to absorb the required debt" for the stadium, he said in the memo.
Mr. Burgess did not return calls.
Stuart Blumberg, president and CEO of The Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association, said he expects about a 10% drop this year — "It comes from sitting here for 53 years and watching every trend that's come through here."
The taxes include a 3% Convention Development Tax, collected countywide, and a 2% Tourist Development Tax and 1% Professional Sports Facilities Franchise Tax, which exempts Miami Beach, Surfside and Bal Harbour.