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editorial

Boston should avoid further tax squeeze on tourists

BECAUSE THE city’s sophisticated, relatively healthy economy puts high demands on limited space, Boston is more expensive than most of the country in a wide variety of ways. So it’s not entirely surprising — or alarming — tolearn that the tax burden facing out-of-town visitors is among the highest in the country as well. Even so, the finding by the Global Business Travel Association that Boston is behind only Chicago and New York in the tax burden on travelers should disconcert local tourism officials. And as the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, a key beneficiary of one travel-specific tax, assesses whether and how to expand, the effect of its plans on the travel tax burden should figure in its calculations.

The travel association, a trade group, determined that travelers to Boston typically pay $34.83 a day in taxes. That’s less than the $40.31 that visitors to Chicago pay, but more than in cities such as Seattle, Minneapolis, and Houston. These figures may overstate the problem, because most business travelers face sales taxes in their home communities.

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