A key segment of the travel industry is taking the District of Columbia City Council to task, with claims that well-paying jobs with decent benefits stand to be lost in the wake of Councilman Michael Brown’s proposed online hotel vendors tax.

Brown’s Payment of Full Hotel Taxes by Online Vendors Act of 2010 has the Council’s unanimous support. According to the at-large councilman, while the bill would not impose a new tax, it would require online travel agencies to hand over all taxes paid by hotel occupants to the District. Brown, who briefly referred to the sluggish economy in explaining his proposal, said because the city has already been forced to slash budgets and decrease city services, it has no choice but to collect all tax revenues that rightfully belongs to it. “It is unconscionable that these companies would charge consumers something called a ‘tax’ and not remit it to the appropriate taxing authority,” Brown said in a Dec. 14 statement.

But the Interactive Travel Services Association, which represents online travel companies, this week launched a series of hard-hitting radio commercials against the City Council’s plans to collect the taxes. The agency said that by its mere consideration of the bill, the governing body is engaging in misguided tactics that deceive District residents.

According to the agency’s advertisements, the bill paves the way for job losses and hotel reservations in the city to ultimately be diverted to Virginia and Maryland.