ORLA Files Suit Against City of Albany for Tax Expenditures

By Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association

ORLA Files Suit Against City of Albany for Tax Expenditures
The motion filed in Linn County District Court alleges misuse of lodging taxes based on state law requirements

Wilsonville, OR– The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) filed a lawsuit against the City of Albany in Linn County Circuit Court.

ORLA contends the City has not reinvested lodging tax dollars originally used to pay off remaining debt for the Linn County Fair & Expo Center back into tourism promotions and/or other tourism-related facilities as required by state law.

“ORLA, on behalf of our local lodging and restaurant operators, has done everything we can to find agreement with City administrators for over a year in hopes of avoiding legal action,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “Unfortunately, City administrators appear to be undeterred and unwilling to concede dollars previously used to pay off debt for the Linn County Fair & Expo center must be reinvested in tourism promotions and/or tourism-related facilities as required by state law.”

Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 320.350 prohibits local governments from decreasing the percentage of Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) revenues spent to fund tourism promotion and tourism-related facilities once tourism-related facility debt is paid off.

“The City has had two choices available to them since retiring debt associated with the Linn County Fair & Expo Center,” said Brandt. “They could have reinvested those dollars in other tourism-related facility projects or tourism promotional campaigns bringing benefits to both residents and visitors, or they could have chosen to reduce the industry tax rate after paying off the debt. Unfortunately, these options have not been embraced and our industry seeks to hold the City of Albany accountable for its failure to comply with state law.”

The hospitality industry remains focused on embracing shoulder and off-season promotions to entice visitors to local communities across Oregon year-round.

“We know the diversion of lodging taxes in support of other local government priorities shortchanges our ability to bring visitor dollars to our restaurant, lodging, and retail businesses year-round,” said Brandt. “Our promotional campaigns at strategic times of the year to targeted tourism markets can bring significant revenue to our local economies and sustain year-round employment for our hard-working teammates in the industry.”

The lawsuit filed with Linn County Circuit Court can be viewed through the following link:
Complaint: ORLA v. City of Albany

Learn more about how Oregon lodging tax is defined in this video. For more information on the efforts of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association please visit OregonRLA.org.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon. A not-for-profit trade organization, ORLA represents approximately 3,000 member units and advocates for over 10,000 foodservice locations and over 2,400 lodging establishments in Oregon.

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