Michigan inn owner sues over 5 percent tourism tax

GLEN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The owner of two inns in northern Michigan is challenging a room tax that’s used to promote tourism around Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

David Gersenson runs Sylvan Inn and Lakeshore Inn in Glen Arbor. A lawsuit filed this week could have consequences for tourism promotion programs around the state that rely on a special room tax. More than 50 tourism agencies collect one.

Gersenson says he can effectively advertise on his own. He says the 5 percent tax collected by Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau violates his First Amendment rights. State law allows tourism agencies to levy a tax if lodging owners vote.

The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation is representing the inns. A similar lawsuit was dropped last year after a Cheboygan County resort owner sold his property.

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