Kings Island and Mason go to war over admission and parking taxes

Posted Monday, November 23, 2009 12:56 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Kings Island is waging a public relations war against plans to institute an admissions and parking tax in Mason. The tall park sign seen from Interstate 71 warns drivers that "Mason wants to tax YOU! Tell them NO!" E-mail blasts and the Web site for the amusement giant urge people to tell council members not to back admissions fees.

Read more from The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Related parks

Monday, November 23, 2009 12:59 PM
Jeff's avatar

The money quote from the councilman says Mason residents are all for it. Really? If they are, they aren't speaking up in the comments on that story.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

+0
Monday, November 23, 2009 1:48 PM
DaveStroem's avatar

I know that a bunch of KICentral folks are going to the meeting and plan to be there early with signs protesting this tax.


Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

+0
Monday, November 23, 2009 8:02 PM
Gemini's avatar

Agree or disagree on the tax, I'm not sure I see this as Kings Island being singled out or picked on. It's not like Mason is inventing the admissions tax (or parking tax, for that matter). There are dozens of cities in Ohio alone that already have an admissions tax. I don't see an admissions tax being much different than a bed tax or tax on car rentals.

And I don't think admission tickets are subject to sales tax in Ohio. I could be wrong, but it seems that an admissions tax is the only way a ticket would be taxed. If true, your total tax on a ticket to Disney World (6.5% sales tax) is higher than Cedar Point (3% admissions tax). As far as admissions taxes go, 3% actually seems low. I know Cleveland's admission tax is 8%.

So on one hand, it doesn't seem that unreasonable. But, there are annexation issues here, along with what may or may not have been promised when Kings Island left Deerfield Twp. From what I can gather, that seems to be where Kings Island has the issue. While many Ohio cities have an admission tax, Kings Island was apparently promised that Mason would not join that list.

Last edited by Gemini, Monday, November 23, 2009 8:03 PM

Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz

+0
Monday, November 23, 2009 9:22 PM

The disgusting thing about this matter and the many other similar situations around the United States is the fact that the elected officials, who are supposed to represent the voice of the people, are doing the exact opposite. They're ignoring their constituents and acting for their own interests.

The people of the United States aren't getting pay increases and in fact, a record number have lost their jobs. Yet the government is being reckless with their spending and now that they realize they don't have the money they already spent, they expect the people to pony up some more.

That's the issue and yes, Kings Island is being singled out. Why is it theme parks and parking this time and not something else? I'm pretty sure that Kings Island probably has the only pay-to-park lot in Mason.

One last thing. Florida has no state income tax, so the revenue comes from other sources. Florida's admission tax is a bad example to use for justifying this tax as reasonable.

Last edited by egieszl, Monday, November 23, 2009 9:26 PM
+0
Monday, November 23, 2009 9:51 PM
rollergator's avatar

Until you see orange groves in Cincy and Columbus, FL is indeed a bad reference point - "Mickey don't do snow". Seriously, though, no other state has as large a proportion of income from tourism...we're incomparable! ;)

Don't I recall from only a year or two back there was a small skirmish in Cincy over some bus routes that employees were using to get to/from the park? Thinking (IIRC) that the city caved on that one, not entirely sure though...

Last edited by rollergator, Monday, November 23, 2009 9:54 PM
+0
Monday, November 23, 2009 9:59 PM
Gemini's avatar

I wasn't using Florida as a justification for anything. I'm pointing out various examples for comparison, though I disagree that the comparison isn't valid. I already knew the tax in Fla. because of my frequent trips to WDW. Want relevant? Nearly 70 Ohio cities, none of which have orange groves, have an admissions tax.

I don't know if the tax is a good idea or a bad one. A 3% rate sounds reasonable. There are valid economic concerns over an increase of such a tax, but also valid arguments that consumption taxes should be favored over income taxes. I don't necessarily buy the "singled out" argument. Should only large cities with many attractions be able to levy such a tax? If anything, smaller cities have a greater need since large attractions may be more of a burden. A $2-$3 increase to offset decreased revenue sounds like the end of the world. If Kings Island felt the need to increase prices $2-$3 to offset increased cost of doing business, though, I'm sure the PR would be more positive.

I also don't buy the argument that cities have overblown budgets and wasteful spending. The same complaint gets brought out by people who vote against school levies. It's popular to hate the government and the taxes they burden you with, and if we were talking about the federal government, I'd tend to agree strongly. :) But on a local level, I generally don't see spending as a problem. I'd bet that if you looked close, there's not much out of line in Mason. And with a likely decrease in income tax revenue and a budget that was probably bare to start, I can understand the city's frustration. Everyone wants their city to cut spending, just don't touch the services I use! :)

I know wahoo skipper works for a city in Florida. I'd be interested in hearing his take.

Last edited by Gemini, Monday, November 23, 2009 10:47 PM

Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz

+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 12:02 AM

City council tabled the issue until February.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/kings-island-ticket-tax-proposal-tabled-by-mason-417638.html

+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 12:58 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

From the article GoBucks linked to:

A family purchasing a four-pack of regular passes and one parking pass would pay an additional $13.40 in taxes, he said.

I see both sides of this to some degree, but the "no big deal" side of me looks at that and thinks that $3.35 per person for an entire season of visits and parking really is no big deal.

I suppose it depends on why Mason feels they need the money and what it would be used for - and I don't know enough about that to comment.


+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 1:50 AM
Jeff's avatar

Gemini said:
It's not like Mason is inventing the admissions tax (or parking tax, for that matter). There are dozens of cities in Ohio alone that already have an admissions tax.

What does that have to do with it being right or wrong?


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 4:12 AM

Lord Gonchar said:
From the article GoBucks linked to:

A family purchasing a four-pack of regular passes and one parking pass would pay an additional $13.40 in taxes, he said.

I see both sides of this to some degree, but the "no big deal" side of me looks at that and thinks that $3.35 per person for an entire season of visits and parking really is no big deal.

I suppose it depends on why Mason feels they need the money and what it would be used for - and I don't know enough about that to comment.

I don't see both sides. This is a city going around planting flowers in OCTOBER in the middle of its streets. Of course there is a handful of jobs with that but this unnecessary spending like we were in good times has got to stop.
Chuck

+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 7:00 AM
Gemini's avatar

Jeff said:

What does that have to do with it being right or wrong?

Nothing. I got the impression that this was merely a greed-based move by the city trying to gut the park who lays the golden egg. Given how common the admissions tax is, I think it's more surprising that such a tax didn't already exist.


Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz

+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 8:25 AM

^But I thought that was the deal for KI being annexed from Deerfield Twp to Mason...no admissions taxes!!

I rarely thought I'd say this...but I agree with Chuck!! You can't have a city acting like Carmel, Ind or San Marino, Cali if you're extorting local businesses in the process!!

+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 8:28 AM

Ok, mine won't be a popular position but I see the logic in taxing parking revenue in the least. Folks driving into Kings Island are impacting local roadways and improvements made to those roadways will benefit those folks and the park as much as anyone. So, to bear some of that burden instead of the residents bearing all of the burden makes sense to me.

Now, the admission tax is not as clear cut to me. But, I would assume there is a bed tax in Mason and visitors to hotels bear some of the tax burden required to fund police and fire. I guess if you hit them up at the toll both you don't really need to hit them up again at the front gate.

+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 8:28 AM

Since when does the concept of right/wrong have anything to do with politics?

+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 8:56 AM

Everyone has to live within a budget then why can't cities realize that and stop taxing. Pay isn't increasing except for the folks in government who just tax everyone to get thiers. It seems that the ogvernments of all these cities across the country see a cash cow from the amusement parks within thier jurisdictions. They don't care of it costs more to enjoy a day in the park just as long as they get thier taxes from it.

+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 10:12 AM

Yes, everyone has to live within a budget. But, here is what is at issue, particularly within local governments.

Many communities collect much of their revenue through property tax. When property values are high, the money rolls in and much can be done with it...new parks, fire stations, streets, etc. When property values are low then the revenue is significantly reduced but those parks, fire stations, street repairs, etc don't go away.

Much of a communities expenses are now wrapped up in personnel related issues, particularly pension plans and health care. Well, the typical fireman/police officer is living well beyond their retirement which is stretching the pension plans. And, if that isn't bad enough, the health care expenses are going through the roof. (You might have heard about something like this in the news lately.)

So, less money coming in...more money going out. Politicians are not going to be real quick to start cutting the fire departments and the police departments (typically the most impact on a community's budget) and the residents aren't interested in hearing about parks and libraries being closed.

(I could get into a long discussion about other sources of revenue that are also drying up like pass throughs from county and state government to local government but that will bore most everyone. Then, you get into unfunded mandates by the States and the Feds and you are really going to check out of this conversation.)

So, where do you turn to for more money? No politician wants to increase taxes on the community (you know...the folks who put them in office) so the easiest solution to all of this is to tax people who don't vote for you or who you don't feel sorry for. So, you get taxes on alcohol and tobacco and you get bed taxes and admission taxes that are largely hitting folks who don't live in the community.

The inflated pension plans are doing in local governments just as they did the big Union folks like airlines and auto workers. But, in most cases folks just don't have the balls to address the real problem so they look to bandaid solutions.

+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 10:16 AM

In reality its because governments have that option. Private entities cannot implement the "increase taxes" option. My guess is that if they had that option, many private sector folks would take it as well rather than making cuts.

What options does city council have in this case? Raise taxes on city residents (never a popular option particularly in a recession). Cut city services/spending (another non-popular option for voters and lost government jobs/spending will hurt the local economy). Put in place an admission/parking tax at KI (certainly not a popular option with the park/park goers and with many related businesses but how many of those folks are registered voters in the city?). With council members looking down the road at re-election, its easy to see the appeal of the third option (when your boss cuts your pay/benefits, you don't get to fire them later down the road). Giving the politics involved in the issue and the consequences thereof, I guess its not surprising that council found a 4th option: kick the can down the road with the hopes the economy will have improved in a few months.

+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 10:37 AM
Gemini's avatar

GoBucks89 said:
In reality its because governments have that option. Private entities cannot implement the "increase taxes" option.

No, but they have the "increase price" option. :)


Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz

+0
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 10:38 AM

wahoo skipper said:
Ok, mine won't be a popular position but I see the logic in taxing parking revenue in the least. Folks driving into Kings Island are impacting local roadways and improvements made to those roadways will benefit those folks and the park as much as anyone. So, to bear some of that burden instead of the residents bearing all of the burden makes sense to me.

Now, the admission tax is not as clear cut to me. But, I would assume there is a bed tax in Mason and visitors to hotels bear some of the tax burden required to fund police and fire. I guess if you hit them up at the toll both you don't really need to hit them up again at the front gate.

The roadway improvements are being paid for by the Stimulous (Another wide ranging tax that is not limited to locals) So why does MASON need more to improve them? , Shall I go over and get a picture of the signs?

+0

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2018, POP World Media, LLC
Loading...