If you’re longing to take a vacation this year, Congress is proposing legislation that would pay you $4,000 towards your trip.
Well, not exactly… the $4,000 would come in the form of a “tax credit” which would reduce the overall amount of money you owe in taxes.
But is throwing millions of dollars into the tourism industry the best plan to help struggling Americans?
Here’s what you need to know.
Why Throw Money At Tourism?
The tourism industry has been slaughtered by COVID-19 – almost to the point of no return.
Struggling hotels were 80 percent vacant, and no one wanted to risk traveling anywhere.
Must be nice to have the government around to always clean up the mess and provide a safety net, huh?
Even with the government bailout, once air travel picked up again, airlines reverted back to their typical rude treatment of passengers and enforcing all types of ridiculous “safety rules,” including threatening to ban travelers from flying in the future if they didn’t get in line.
Tourism and hospitality industries have been begging Congress to do something to help, and one Republican Senator decided to step in by proposing the “American TRIP Act” which would actually pay Americans to travel.
The bill was introduced by Martha McSally, a Republican Senator from Arizona who is facing the voters for re-election this year and is already trailing in the polls by double digits.
Is this just a ploy to buy votes with taxpayer money?
Fox 23 News reported:
“The tourism and hospitality industries were among the hardest hit sectors across the country and their revival is critical to our economic recovery,” McSally said in a statement. “My legislation will help boost domestic travel and jump-start the comeback of our hotels, entertainment sectors, local tourism agencies . . . and encourage Americans to safely get out of their homes and discover or rediscover Arizona along with the rest of the amazing destinations our country has to offer, after a difficult several months stuck inside.”
So What’s The Catch?
There really isn’t one.
The proposed legislation would give individual taxpayers up to a $4,000 tax credit ($8,000 per year for joint filers) just to take a vacation.
And if you have kids, you get an extra $500 per child.
Even crazier, the credit is retroactive to January 1, of 2019…
…meaning if you traveled in January 2019 before COVID-19 hit, you’ll still get the tax credit.
And not knowing what the future holds, the bill boldly applies to travel not only in 2020, but 2021 and all the way through January 1, 2022!
Of course, the bill throws a whopping $50 million to help organizations “market” their travel and tourism.
Is It Wise?
Yes, the tourism industry has been hit hard by COVID-19.
But so has every other family in America.
Many families are struggling to put food on the table and pay their rent…
… and they certainly don’t have thousands of dollars to take a Hawaiian vacation even with the promise of a “tax credit” later in the year.
And even those who do have money to travel are choosing not to.
Why pay thousands of dollars to visit Hawaii just to be quarantined in a hotel room?
Or spend hours on a plane booked to capacity with hundreds of other travelers barely able to breathe through a stuffy mask?
And with so many places limiting capacity or forcing children as young as 3 to wear masks, many families are opting out of travel all together.
Why pay thousands of dollars for a trip when everything is closed?
And as Congress seems to always forget to mention (or blatantly chooses to disregard) – somebody is paying for this vacation.
The saying is true – there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or free vacation).
Printing trillions of dollars out of thin air to fund trillion-dollar bailouts saddles our children and grandchildren with debt.
It’s irresponsible, and immoral.
If the bill actually passes, the good news for some travelers is they’ll still get paid – even if they take a road trip.
The only requirements for the tax credit is you must travel within the United States and its territories, and travel at least 50 miles from your home.
So technically, if you want to see a concert or show, you could be reimbursed for your lodging, transportation and entertainment costs as long as it’s more than 50 miles from home!
Or if you wanted to attend a sporting event in a different state – you’ll get paid for that too.
Since so many people lost money with airline vouchers and canceled vacations, even those who are opposed to bailouts on principle might welcome the relief and take advantage of the bailout.
Regardless, every conservative knows more taxpayer funded bailouts and handouts are not the solution to boost tourism.
Easing up regulatory restrictions and not policing people for walking on the beach would be a good step.
Or teaching airlines they can’t receive billions of dollars in government bailouts to meet payroll… just to turn around and abuse their authority by having security escort passengers off the plane and adding them to a “do not fly” hit list for not following “safety measures.”
Letting Americans choose whether or not they want to wear a mask – instead of mandating they do so would be a step in the right direction.Sadly, Congress is used to using taxpayer dollars to try and solve problems, which inadvertently ends up making things worse in the end.
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