Washington Secrets

Summer bummer: Higher taxes will kill vacations

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

The nation's travel industry warned Tuesday that if President Obama and congressional leaders don't avert the looming "fiscal cliff," Americans will likely cover their higher taxes by giving up vacations. And that will domino through the travel industry, they added.

"The uncertainty over the economic impact of the fiscal cliff and potentially significant tax increases is delaying decisions about travel," warned Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association.

"If unresolved, millions of American families may be left without the means to take a vacation and businesses are certain to roll back their travel spending. Less travel will affect communities from coast-to-coast with small businesses paying the highest price. Reductions in travel will force employers to make difficult decisions in a labor-intensive industry suffering from fewer customers," he added.

Plus, Dow said that spending cuts required in a fiscal cliff disaster could decimate the travel infrastructure, making traveling a tough slog for those who can afford to.

"Massive cuts to the budgets of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Highway Administration will mean fewer security officers to process travelers through busy airports, continued flight delays and fewer critical bridge and highway repairs," said Dow. "Poor travel experiences today will impact decisions to travel far into the future - whether for American families or international visitors, who spent $153 billion during visits to the U.S. in 2011."

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