Discretionary taxes on travel services in the United States continue to rise, according to a December 2013 report from the Global Business Travel Association. In fact, in 2013, such travel taxes increased the total tax bill for travelers by an incredible 58 percent. What's more, the bipartisan budget deal reached by Congress in mid-December more than doubled the Transportation Security Administration's aviation tax.
"More and more, governments think the easiest way to raise money is to penalize business travelers," said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA's executive director and COO. "That's just bad for business."
Despite the positive effects business travel has on the economy, McCormick added, federal, state and local governments "insist on treating travelers like their ATM machine. GBTA is very concerned that taxes and fees are approaching the tipping point that will ultimately push business travelers to stay home."
In GBTA's ranking of the highest and lowest taxed U.S. cities, Chicago, New York and Minneapolis had the highest total tax burden on travelers (see chart below). When looking only at discretionary travel taxes, the highest burden came from Portland, Ore.; Boston, and Indianapolis. Florida's Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and West Palm Beach tied for lowest total tax burden.