That's D.C. city councilman Michael Brown on a proposed $10 million tax grab. The District wants to snag some additional revenue from tourists visiting the city by extracting tax on the retail price of hotel reservations rather than the wholesale price paid by companies like Travelocity. The tax rate on hotel rooms in D.C. is already a whopping 14.5 percent, they're just looking to increase the size of the base.
According to the Washington Examiner, hospitality industry groups are none too thrilled. Increasing taxes is a great way to scare tourists right out of the city. And even though industry groups love to bitch and moan, they're right: D.C. happens to be conveniently surrounded by two other perfectly nice states. Folks arriving at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport must drive through a massive and convenient hotel district called Crystal City, which happens to be in Virginia. Those hotels are three miles and a couple of metro stops from the museums and monuments of the National Mall.
Most online booking sites list prices with the taxes included these days, so D.C. isn't pulling anything over on buyers by increasing the tax. It just means the rooms will show as more expensive than their suburban counterparts in a search.