Brookfield, Illinois, home of the famous Brookfield Zoo, passed a 25-cent amusement tax, as seen in an article in the Riverside/Brookfield Landmark. Seemingly irrelevant, this small fee is a taste of things to come for travelers in 2011, who will see increased fees and taxes throughout the year as cities and states try to plug their budget deficits on the backs of someone besides residents.
I think that a 25-cent addition to the zoo’s entry fee will not significantly decrease the number of visitors to the zoo, but it certainly will affect the future. States and cities have consistently increased taxes on hotels and rental cars over the years (resulting in hotel taxes as high as 17% in Houston and rental car taxes & fees often exceeding 50% of the price of the rental). Is this fee just the canary in the coal mine? If this 25-cent fee stands a constitutional challenge (read the complete article for more information about that), I predict that this fee will be increased in the next few years, as the village finds this to be a significant revenue source. Taxpayers always love it when they are subsidized by tourists.
by Matthew Stone
For more about 2011 travel predictions, read a recent article by Catharine Hamm of the L.A. Times.