New taxes on car rentals are popping up all over, according to USA Today, which cites movements to add or increase taxes in Florida, Maine, New Jersey, Michigan and Wisconsin.
It’s bad news because car rental rates have risen so much in the past year that suddenly a car rental has become the most expensive part of many trips. The New York Times reported this summer that weekly airport rental rates for a compact car were up 73 percent this May over the previous May.
Of course in tough fiscal times, the temptation is strong to add insult to injury by raising taxes on visitors who don’t vote in the state where the taxes are being imposed. We might get angry, but what are we going to do about it?
Well, we might stay away. I started planning a trip to Phoenix in the spring but changed my mind when I couldn’t find a decent car rental rate. What really annoyed me was that rentals at the Phoenix airport are subject to a “stadium tax,” as if I had some responsibility to pay for a sports venue in Arizona.
Very often when I travel now, I look for public transportation options so that I can skip the whole car rental hassle. I suspect I’m not alone.