Fee Detective

Montana Aims to Use Car Rental Tax Increase to Help Fill Massive Budget Hole


When states across the U.S. find a budget hole that needs filling, rental car taxes are a comparatively easy target for "revenue enhancement". By this point, it feels as if we've written about this topic more often than the industry trade group Curb Auto Rental Taxes! And while the increased taxes are often earmarked for projects that residents don't want to fund directly (like professional sports stadiums), the recent debate out of the State of Montana's Special Legislative Session is use new taxes on hotels and rental cars to help work their way out of a $227 million budget deficit. The primary opposition so far? The hotels and rental car companies, although the real pushback should be from residents.

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The Fee Detective Visits Indianapolis, Home of High Speeds and High Taxes


Indianapolis is a great city in many ways. Fans of automotive history (as we are) can always visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or the nearby Dallara IndyCar Factory. There are great new hotels built because the NCAA is headquartered (for now) in Indianapolis. And Indianapolis has a very nice airport when the airfare is right. But the members of the AutoSlash team who transit Indianapolis usually do so in our own cars, as we have an aversion to paying taxes that effectively add 50% to the "base" rate of our rentals. We also cringe a bit inside knowing that some of the sites best known in car culture excessively tax car culture! So how do the taxes in Indianapolis stack up and where do the funds go? And will we ever again have a sing along to Back Home Again in Indiana?

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Fee If It's Hot, Fee If It's Cold: In Canada, You Pay Either Way


Large swaths of Canada epitomize the definition of "remote." We didn't expect to get search requests for towns that were five hours from the nearest rental car office, but it turns out that's not a rare occurrence in Canada.

In addition to wide open spaces and endless forests (at least occasionally dusted in snow, of course), Canada may be known for its citizens' politeness, but crafty rental station managers (combined with the diverse Canadian climate and government regulations) set the stage for a multitude of fees worth a look by the Fee Detective.

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The Fee Detective in Kansas City, Missouri; Arena Rock (Partially) Keeps the Lights on at an Unoccupied Arena

Kansas City

Readers of the AutoSlash blog know we’re not fans of fees, whether created by government agencies or the rental car companies themselves. It’s a common practice of cash-strapped governments and airport authorities to extensively tax individuals (air travelers) who are presumed to be tourists. Those funds are then frequently used for projects that wouldn’t be undertaken otherwise. And with that …

Kansas City, Kansas City here I ComeFats Domino

One of the more egregious sets of fees assessed on rental cars happens to be in Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO). The Fee Detective lived outside the city for more than a year and knew there were issues with rental car pricing.

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The Fee Detective Visits Seattle, Where Renters Get to Pay for Residents' Transportation and Sports Facilities

Seattle Skyline

The AutoSlash team is fond of Seattle. The region has a beautiful mixture of climate, nature to explore, and fantastic hotels and eateries. The ascendance of the Seattle sound (grunge) was during our high school and college days for the older AutoSlash team members! Prefer hip-hop instead? The landmarks in Sir Mix-A-Lot's Posse on Broadway are all in Seattle. There's even the Boeing Museum of Flight to satisfy the needs of transportation geeks. What else does Seattle (and the State of Washington) have? Taxes on rental cars that shift the payment of government services from the users of those services to rental car customers.

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