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Expect Suffolk hotel tax to stay 3 percent as changes are debated

Some want hotel-tax money to support more tourist

Some want hotel-tax money to support more tourist spots such as the Montauk Lighthouse. Photo Credit: J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Suffolk’s three percent hotel/motel room tax runs out by year end, but state and county officials say they will likely extend the tax for one year unchanged so all sides can hash out possible revisions to the law that brings in $9 million a year.

Some want to raise the tax to five percent which would bring in another $6 million a year, but county lawmakers, up for election this year, are cool to the idea. Others want to see money specifically earmarked for additional landmarks like the Montauk Lighthouse, or the proposed preservation of the former lab of turn-of-the-century electrical genius Nikola Tesla. The tourism industry, meanwhile, wants legislation that includes taxing online accommodations like Airbnb.

Some also want to see the Vanderbilt Museum weaned from their $900,000 a year funding, which was given to replenish the endowment after the Wall Street meltdown. Museum officials have say they need continued help until the endowment reaches the level where the museum can be self-sustaining.

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