Five years later, federal court denies City’s effort to squeeze travel websites

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City loses bid for bigger slice of hotel tax – Chris Moran, Chron Houston Politics

City Hall and the local sports stadium authority can collect hotel room tax only on what pays for a room, not on what the Web site’s customers pay it for booking the room, an appeals court has ruled.

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals ruling on Tuesday upholds a trial court ruling in City of Houston and Harris County-Houston Sports Authority vs. and 10 other Internet travel booking sites.

Back when Bill White announced he was hiring outside legal counsel to pursue this revenue stream, we expressed skepticism about the wisdom of the mayor’s gambit (and drew some criticism in the comments).

So one fairly important matter didn’t find it into Chris Moran’s blog post: Just how much did this failed legal effort cost taxpayers?

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Kevin Whited
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