Hotels – traffic ticket deterrent?

An article in the New York Times of September 3rd notes how towns shore up their revenue base by issuing traffic tickets – no surprise there. The article cites a paper by two economists at George Mason University that notes how out of town motorists “were much more likely to get citations. A driver from out of town had a 10 percent higher probability of getting a ticket than a local driver, holding speed and other characteristics constant”. Interestingly, the study also finds that “ticketing was modestly lower in towns with high levels of employment in the hospitality industry suggesting that police departments might consider the effects of aggressive ticketing on local commerce.”

That predictive ability ought to deter local governments that aggressively go after the pockets of outsiders in a bid to keep property taxes low. Unfortunately, it is a lesson that is seldom learnt as jurisdictions around the country continue to aggressively ticket, tax (most commonly for convention centers) and otherwise sock it to Joe and Jane from Anytown but hometown. Perhaps, the findings of the recent study ought to be disseminated widely to deter legislators from short-sightedly targeting outsiders to curry favor (and votes) from local residents.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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