Monkey Math – Tourist Impact Tax

blinking monkeyI’m doing a series of posts dissecting reports prepared by Monroe County.  County reports need to be fact-checked.  This is especially important for Key Largo taxpayers who bear a disproportionate financial burden when it comes to the wastewater projects.  This situation has been created by and perpetuated by the county’s extremely unfair funding practices.  I have found that the county’s reports are typically inaccurate and misleading.  Rather than seeking data in order to make good decisions, it appears to be all about justifying poor decisions after-the-fact.

The Tourist Impact Tax is one of the Local Option Taxes.  Half of the Tourist Impact Tax goes to the Monroe County Land Authority and is to be used for purchasing land.  The other half goes into the general fund.  This is one of the components missing from the county’s analysis of general fund revenues.  Here is a link to the report I am referring to:  Key Largo-Tavernier-impact (1).

The tax is imposed county-wide on transient rental facilities (hotels, motels).  It’s already been shown that about 15% of the sales tax is generated by Key Largo.  This report from the Tourist Development Council (TDC) shows that 12% of the “bed tax” is collected in Key Largo and 6% is collected in the unincorporated Lower Keys.  I’ll use these numbers to calculate the respective contributions from Key Largo and Cudjoe Regional.  Keep in mind that Cudjoe Regional makes up only a portion of the unincorporated Lower Keys.  In reality, their contribution would be substantially less than 6%.  But for the purposes of this report, I’ll use that number.  If I find a way to refine it and make it more accurate, I’ll circle back.

Approximately $3.9 million went into the general fund in 2013.  Using the TDC’s percentages, Key Largo would have contributed about $468,000.  Cudjoe Regional, keeping in mind the caveat above, would have contributed about $234,000.  Municipalities are not eligible to receive a portion of this tax so an incorporated Key Largo would receive zero.

A revised general revenue table is provided below:

General Fund Revenues(3)

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