Skip to comments.***This Stuff Drives Me Crazy***
Posted on 02/16/2002 8:51:11 PM PST by lonestar
SILSBEE TX- Rodney Barefield remembers helping guests at the Pinewood Inn before his head reached the stomach-high counter. He would perch on a stool to greet them eye-to-eye.
He's now helping his mother run the 40-year-old business, but he's not sure how much longer the 48-room motel will keep its doors open.
A 7 percent hotel/motel tourism tax - which was adopted in July 2000, but not enforced until April 2001 - has been cutting into company profits.
Taxes account for 13 percent of the Barefield's income, 7 percent to Silsbee and 6 percent to the state.
Helen Barefield, Rodney's mother and partner, said the motel costs about $120,000 a year to operate.
Although officials believe tourists are paying the tax, the Barefields said that's not true.
Most customers are construction workers in town for company projects. Rodney Barefield does not believe the hard-workers should pay a tax intended for pleasure-seekers.
Not that any customers pick up the taxes.
The Barefields pay the tax because they cannot afford to hike room prices. Competition with a hotel outside city limits, which was not hit with the tax, forced the Barefields to lower rates.
In the past few years, the cheapest room at the Pinewood Inn dropped from $42.92 to $35.95.
The Barefields also complain that Beaumont, a town much larger than Silsbee, has the same 7 percent city tax rate.
"How they compare this town to Beaumont I have no idea," Rodney Barefield said.
Silsbee attracted 25 residents between 1990 and 2000, according to census numbers.
"The city has used the same population sign since I was riding my bike up the street," Rodney Barefield said. "It's dying. The city is dying."
Silsbee Mayor Dean Robinson believes the motel tax will help revive the city and lure tourists.
Robinson said much money collected will funnel into renovations for the Icehouse Museum. Additional funds go toward the annual Cruise in Silsbee, which attracts about 3,000 to 4,000 people, Robinson said.
City Manager Ricky Jorgensen said the tax has brought in about $10,000 since the city began collecting in April 2001. The Pinewood Inn and the Budget Motel pay the tax. The 96 Motel, beyond city limits, does not pay the tax.
Robinson said the tax will help the city, but it won't change overnight.
The Barefields hope it happens fast.
Last year the Barefields didn't pay federal income taxes because they did not make a profit, Helen Barefield said.
The City Manager probably couldn't keep a business open three months!
With a phone in each? How much phone tax is collected on that puppy?
Typical. Let's drive the motel out of business so that it will benefit down the road. Wonder how much revenue the city will get when the motel closes it's doors. DUH ALERT!
So you tax the only motel out of business? This would make perfect sense, if the mayor has his eyes on the land or has a brother-in-law in the motel business. Small-town politics can be pretty personal.
Govmint in action!
I can hear it now:
"Mabel honey.... I hear Silsbee's just put a new tax on hotels. They say the new tax will revive the city and lure tourists. I've been hankering to stay at the Pinewood Inn and that new tax sure do sound attractive. Why don't you pack the bags and we'll just mosey on over there and THROW OUR MONEY DOWN ANOTHER GOVERNMENT RATHOLE."
And probably will!
That has to be the funniest line I've read in a long time! I know Silsbee very well, and believe me when I say it will never be a tourist mecca! Sorry, but that line gave me the best laugh I've had in a while.
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