Maine Association Battles Lodging Tax
Approximately 30 members of the Maine Campground Owners Association (MECOA) attended the association’s annual meeting Feb. 8 at the Portland Sports Complex in Portland, Maine.
The meeting was held prior to the MECOA-sponsored 4th Annual Vacationland RV and Camping Supershow Feb. 8-10 at the sports complex.
Guest speakers at the meeting included Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), who spoke about the benefits of belonging to ARVC; Will Harris, director of parks and recreation for the state of Maine; and Charlene Donahue, state entomologist, who spoke about ways to combat the emerald ash borer.
Rick Abare, executive director of MECOA, told Woodall’s Campground Management that MECOA will again lobby the state Legislature to oppose raising the state lodging tax, now set at 7%. Maine is one of the few states in the nation that charges the lodging tax on all campsites, including seasonal ones.
“We are constantly at the Legislature trying to explain to them that between 60% and 70% of the lodging tax is collected from Mainers. Raising that tax is raising an added tax to Maine residents,” he said. Neighboring states such as Vermont and New Hampshire do not collect such a tax on campsites, which creates an unfair advantage, he said.
It has been proposed to raise the lodging tax to 10%, he said.
“We are diligently fighting that in the Legislature. We are quite confident we will be able to keep the lodging tax in check this year. It’s an election year and none of the legislators want to be seen as ‘tax happy,’” he said.
MECOA members honored David Berg, owner of the Red Apple Campground in Kennebunkport, Maine, with the Richard A. Hartford/Kenneth Griffin Award for outstanding service to the campground industry.
In a special vote at the annual meeting, members also voted to give the award to Maria Baptista. She and her husband, Manny, own Acres of Wild Life Campground in Steep Falls, Maine, and were recognized for their years of service to the camping industry.
Officers for 2008 are: President Pat Kosalka, Sagadahoc Bay Campground, Georgetown; 1st Vice President Allen York, Yonder Hill Campground & Cabins, Madison; 2nd Vice President John Hastings, Flat Rock Bridge Family Resort, Lebanon; Treasurer Lovia Koscinski, Riverbend Campground, Leeds; and Past President Lee Worcester, Smuggler’s Den Campground, Southwest Harbor.
All MECOA members were encouraged to attend the annual Northeast Campground Association Conference on Camping & Trade Show March 13-15 in Springfield, Mass.
MECOA will hold its annual Fall Frolic at Yonder Hill Campground & Cabins the weekend after Columbus Day in October.