FALMOUTH – Business leaders on the Upper Cape are supporting an effort to expand the Room Occupancy Tax to include private property owners who rent their homes.
Legislation referred to as the Airbnb bill could be included in the next state budget which would be passed by July.
Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber President and CEO Marie Oliva said the legislation would level the playing field.
“What we are trying to do is be fair about the situation and the legislation that is pending does just that,” said Marie Oliva, the president and CEO of the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce.
The legislation proposed by the Governor would charge property owners who rent homes, apartments, or condos the same rate that is paid by hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts.
“I’d prefer that some of that funding come back to the towns for tourism since tourism is the third largest industry in the state,” Oliva said.
Falmouth Chamber of Commerce President Michael Kasparian supports the legislation, along with an article at Falmouth Special Town Meeting which calls on a tax for rental properties to be similar to those paid by hotels and motels.
“We just think it’s fair that folks that are renting homes should also pay the occupancy tax,” Kasparian said.
Kasparian said the town provides services and that everyone in the town, including visitors should help pay for them.
“We understand that people want to rent houses that have multiple rooms and kitchens and that’s great,” Kasparian said.
“However, with folks coming into the town the police department, fire department, trash pickup – those services are still strained and there should be funds available to help defray those costs.”
Plymouth State Senator Vinny deMacedo said residents on the Cape should expect an Airbnb tax sometime this year.
“This is a good thing for them. The fact that people can have their home and go away for two weeks and rent it out and make some money. We think that’s a good thing,” deMacedo said. “We just want to make sure it’s done properly and how we address that issue.”
DeMacedo believes it will be part this year’s budget and be in law by July 1.
The proposed legislation would tax property owners who rent their rooms at 150 days per year or more.