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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com — November 23, 2012 at 8:00 am 2,017 23 Comments

Arlington Small Business Saturday – This holiday weekend, in addition to today’s traditional Black Friday shopping bonanza, Arlington residents will be able to participate in “Arlington Small Business Saturday.” The day encourages Arlingtonians to shop and dine at small, local businesses this weekend. “Your favorite retail, dining and online small businesses are participating and providing discounts or incentives on a variety of products and services,” according to organizers.

Retirement Ceremony for Therapy Dog – Bailey, a therapy dog at the Capital Hospice Halquist Center near Virginia Hospital Center, is retiring after 10 years of service to those who have life-limiting illnesses. A private retirement ceremony will be held for Bailey, a golden retriever, at the hospice center on Monday night. “Cider, special Goldrush brownies and dog treats will be served,” according to an online invitation.

Library Recovers from Database Crash — The electronic catalog and accounts system for Arlington Public Library and Arlington Public Schools is back up and running after crashing last Friday. “We are very pleased to report that our system is back online, along with research databases, and that most if not all data feared lost has been recovered and restored,” the library said on its web site. “Your privacy was never compromised. We are taking steps to prevent such an outage from happening again.” [Arlington Public Library]

Homeless Navy Vet Gets Apartment — Ernest Maas, a 61-year-old Navy veteran, is giving thanks this Thanksgiving weekend for the roof over his head. Maas got the keys to a new apartment in Arlington on Wednesday after spending the past three years homeless and living in the woods around Four Mile Run. The new apartment was coordinated by the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network. [WJLA]

Arlington Hotels: Tax Us, Please — The Hotel General Managers’ Committee of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and the Arlington Tourism Coalition are hoping to lobby the Virginia General Assembly to reinstate the county’s hotel tax surcharge. The 0.25 percent tax on hotel rooms in Arlington generated nearly $1 million per year that went to tourism promotion efforts. State lawmakers declined to renew the tax last year in retaliation for Arlington’s fight against HOT lanes on I-395. [Sun Gazette]

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  • chris

    Why would hotel GM’s advocate for more taxes?

    • Jason S.

      So they can blame the county or state when guests ask about the tax. The real problem is they’re too cheap to pay for the promotion themselves by raising rates a tiny bit.

      • drax

        If they voluntarily paid for promoting the county, they’d be paying for all the other freeloader hotels that don’t pay it too.

        • Jason S.

          Oh, the horror. Even with this tax, restaurants near hotels will benefit, so will food carts, the Metro, taxicabs, limo services, and shopping centers. We’d better make sure they all get a special tourism tax as well just in case they incidentally benefit from hotels having guests.

          • drax

            So you think one person or business should pay for services that everyone gets? Does that mean you’re willing to pay taxes to pay for government services while the rest of us don’t? We can freeload off of you?

            Yeah, thought so.

            A few hotels can’t voluntarily pay enough to support a decent promotion plan, unless they fork over a whole lot of cash. Why should they do that and give that promotion to freeloaders for nothing?

          • I know right

            Arlington already pulls in a 2% transient occupancy tax from hotels (which the hotels gleefully write off from their taxes). Let’s see the figures on where Arlington is wasting that 2% revenue on things other than promoting the industry that remits it.

          • Pike

            Yeah, what about the $8 million in revenue that the normal hotel tax is bringing in? Where is that money being spent if not to promote the hotels?

        • Duh

          Not if they only advocated for their own hotel by name. That’s how advertising works. Only an idiot would promote the area and not mention their hotel brand.

          • drax

            Of course. But this isn’t about just promoting their hotel. This is about a promotion for the entire county as a tourist attraction – a promotion that is much bigger than an ad campaign for one hotel. It’s not something that one hotel can afford to do alone.

          • Pike

            So use part of the $8 million that the transient occupancy tax brings in to fund the stupid program.

    • slither

      As it says in the article: “The 0.25 percent tax on hotel rooms in Arlington generated nearly $1 million per year that went to tourism promotion efforts.”

      Evidently the tourist promotion increased the hotel business a lot, and cost them almost nothing. A tax rate of .0025 will not deter any customers, after all! And, yes, theoretically the hotel chains could pay for their own advertising, but the problem with that is that it is in every hotel’s interest to let the other hotels pay for ads, but not to do so themselves. Only when everyone chips in for ads does that work, and having a microscopic tax is an effective way of doing that.

      • drax

        But Jason S. thinks one company should just pay a full million dollars for everyone.

      • SamsonTheCat

        Ramada, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, etc all pay for national advertising and the Arlington branches (is that the right term?) see the benefit. They could pay out of pocket too, but they’d save more money keeping the cash than advertising “Stay at the Arlington Days Inn” to people in Kansas City and having to raise rates to pay for it. They benefit more from a general “Stay in Arlington” campaign funded through a tax and then benefit from the national advertising with people looking up the chain they know from that campaign. It’s just better business.

        • Molly

          I’m concerned that without this advertising money people planning on visiting will not know anything about why they want to visit here.

          I am also a cheerleader for many other arcane spending methods.

          • drax

            Molly, this is about convincing them to plan to visit in the first place, or to stay in Arlington instead of DC or whatever.

          • SamsonTheCat

            Most people coming here for vacations know why they are visiting and 9.9 out of 10 reasons it’s not because of Arlington, but because of DC. This money would probably go towards a page in a DC visitors’s guide or AAA book with smiling happy people eating burgers and frozen yogurt and riding a streetcar to the Artisphere saying, “Come visit Arlington. We’re Have More than Just a Cemetery” or for an ad in a trade publication touting Arlington as a place to have a conference that says it’s in Washington, DC, but is really in Rossyln.

            The target audience is people coming to DC who don’t want pay to stay downtown or fight DC traffic. If they can hop off the highway and go to a hotel in easy walking distance to restaurants and the metro..and save a few dollars, it’s a win.

  • John Fontain

    Here is a list of small businesses in Arlington participating in Small Business Saturday. Many of them are offering discounts on food and products…

    http://www.asbsi.org/files/Bus_Web_Deal.docx

    • Barryballston

      Chic-fil-a is a small business?? Maybe since that location is not very large

    • What

      Half of these places don’t even advertise the deal…what’s the point?

  • chris

    .5% on top of 6% Va sales tax and 5% hotel tax…..

  • drax

    I’m glad to see someone who served defending our country is back on his feet after being homeless, thanks to assistance he got from A-SPAN.

    • Trent

      I doubt that’s why you are really glad about it.

      • drax

        No, I really am glad about it.

        It’s not why I’m posting to say I’m glad about it though.

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