Finally, someone else noticed the bullshit fees Kansas City lards on when you rent a car there. It's the worst municipal offender.
From the story:
"In enacting [them], officials typically assume that local constituents are shielded from payment because out-of-town visitors — and therefore non-voters — carry most of the burden.
Steve Glorioso, assistant to Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Kay Barnes, says the arena fee was approved by local voters.
The downtown arena 'will bring tens of thousands of conventioneers to the city,' he says. Revitalizing the downtown area also helps to attract more visitors, which helps rental car companies, he says.
The $4-a-day arena fee has been a success, he says. In the 12 months ended in April, the city has raised $8.9 million from it, or about $900,000 above the initial projection."
It may have exceeded anticipated fees, but how much business is the city losing because it angers people by taking flat-out advantage of them?
"Business travelers such as Jerry Vandiver are upset about the high cost of renting in Kansas City. The country singer and songwriter from Nashville recently rented a car from Thrifty while visiting Kansas City. He says the base rate for renting for two days was $88, but the bottom-line price was nearly double, $160."
My experience, too, Jerry.
"In 2004, revenue from rentals at non-airport locations — which presumably cater more to local residents — exceeded revenue from airport rentals for the first time in industry history.
'The notion that it is borne by somebody else who doesn't live here is increasingly outdated,' says William Gale, an economist at The Brookings Institution and a co-author of an industry study on the taxes.
Gale and Kim Rueben, an economist at the Urban Institute, found that many customers in Kansas City were willing to travel several miles outside of the city to avoid the arena fee.
After Kansas City passed the arena tax in 2005, the number of cars rented by local residents in the taxed area fell steeply compared with previous years, Gale and Rueben concluded."
Whoa. Logic. So the city made its anticipated reaming fees, but the car rental companies lost business thanks to the soak-the-traveler-so-we-can-claim-clean-hands idea.