Michigan inn owner sues over 2 percent tourism tax
GLEN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The owner of two inns in northern Michigan is challenging a room tax that's used to promote tourism around Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
David Gersenson runs Sylvan Inn and Lakeshore Inn in Glen Arbor. A lawsuit filed this week could have consequences for tourism promotion programs around the state that rely on a special room tax. More than 50 tourism agencies collect one.
Gersenson says he can effectively advertise on his own. He says the 2 percent tax collected by Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau violates his First Amendment rights. It could increase to 5 percent. State law allows tourism agencies to levy a fee if lodging owners vote.
The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation is representing the inns. A similar lawsuit was dropped last year after a Cheboygan County resort owner sold his property.