Cross-posted at CalWatchdog.

The bustling, totally hip city of Seattle is very taxing on its visitors.

I recently went to the beautiful Northwest city on business. Being a cost-conscience person, I shopped rental cars and ended up with a pretty good deal on short notice at $104 for four days.

Imagine my surprise when I returned the car and finalized the bill. The taxes totaled more than the car rental. The rental receipt listed eight different taxes, totaling $134.37:

SEA Concession 4.4 percent = $8.12

WA Tax SEA 9.5 percent =  $11.85

WA Rental Tax 9.7 percent = $12.09

WA Motor vehicle tax 0.30 percent $0.37

CFC tax = $20.00

RSA tax = $11.96

VLF tax = $1.92

LDW tax = $67.96

The “LDW” is a “loss damage waiver” tax, which I had already declined and shown proof of my own insurance, but it still appeared on the bill.

The city of Seattle says that car rental taxes total 18.5 percent, but that doesn’t add up for me.

The hotel tax is only slightly less. A Seattle hotel room will cost an additional 15.8 percent in tax, which includes state and local sales taxes.

According to the city of Seattle sales and use tax overview, most of the hotel and rental-car taxes imposed in King County go either to pay off the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, or toward Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, and Qwest field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, as well as the remaining Kingdome bonds, which was demolished in 2000.

When asked if Seattle risks driving away business, meeting-industry professionals say, probably not. ”In my opinion, [the hotel tax] is a very small factor,” said Linda Mansouria, president of Make It Happen LLC, an event-planning firm in San Francisco. “I never even ask the question, ‘What are your taxes?’ It just never comes up,” the Seattle Times reported.

What the brainiacs in government, city convention bureaus and local meeting planners rarely take into consideration is that the business traveler has choices. And many business travelers don’t appreciate getting screwed, even on an expense account.

Business travelers also take vacations. While Seattle may be a really cool place to visit, not only will I refuse to stay in Seattle again, I will check into other city’s taxes on hotels, car rentals and even local sales taxes before I make any travel plans.

Sacramento, are you listening? Apparently the voters in Seattle think that it’s funny to have business travelers and tourists pay for their sports arenas and convention center. With Sacramento obsessing over a new arena, how to pay for it is has been a bone of contention with voters.

Sacramento voters have voted down taxing initiatives to pay for an arena. With planning underway again for another arena proposal, the plan is to divvy the cost up in thirds:

– The Sacramento Kings, the NBA and a private developer would contribute between $91 million to $156 million in lease payments, upfront money, land and other revenue to pay for an arena.

– The city of Sacramento would contribute the sale of public land, a tax on hotels and taxis, and money from items such as digital advertising and parking valued at $94 million to $123 million.

– The third pot of money will be fueled by ticket surcharges, naming rights and other revenue sources that could generate $90 million to $121 million, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Apparently residents in the six-county Sacramento region will not be subjected to a tax increase in order to subsidize the arena. Appropriately, patrons of the venue will help pay for it, as they should.

However, it appears that the city will gouge visitors with hotel and taxi taxes, and the cost to park in Sacramento will increase.

Oh, the brilliance.

Residents in the surrounding regions already avoid downtown Sacramento as it is. Those who work in downtown during the business day, leave at 5:00 p.m. to head home to another county where they live, eat, shop, recreate and spend money. They don’t like coming into downtown for entertainment — the lousy and expensive parking, sketchy neighborhoods, pushy and crazy vagrants, unsafe downtown streets, and crime and gang problems just aren’t worth it.

I live in downtown Sacramento. Even my husband and I avoid going deep into certain city parts of downtown at night.

It looks as if Sacramento will be attempting Seattle’s tax gouge on the business traveler to help pay for the arena.

This is not a good idea and should be paid for entirely by the developers, NBA, the Sacramento Kings owners, and the fans.

How many business travelers have decided against ever going to Seattle again because of the offensive taxes? This could happen to Sacramento. And Sacramento is not totally hip like Seattle.