APCC Praises Passage of House and Senate Short-Term Rental Bills

DENNIS – The Association to Preserve Cape Cod, a local environmental organization, is praising the passage of the short-term rental bills by the Massachusetts House and Senate.

Both versions of the bill would impose taxes on short-term rentals, including those made through online services like AirBnB, and include the creation of the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund to provide local municipalities pay for water quality improvement projects.

The Senate bill would impose existing state hotel taxes on short-term rentals and allow communities to impose additional local excise taxes if they want. The state hotel tax is 5.7 percent.

The House version is a tiered system that would impose a 4 percent state tax on rentals by individuals who offer no more than two rooms for rent.

Short-term rentals made through a professional property manager or investor host would be taxed at 5.7 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

The fund would be supported through an extra 2.75 percent tax on short-term rentals in Barnstable, Dukes and Natucket Counties.

“The bill provides a very significant source of property tax relief to the residents of Cape Cod by bring money from off Cape onto the Cape to help towns defray the cost,” said Andrew Gottlieb, the executive director of the APCC.

“We see it as the most consequential piece of environmental legislation that’s been contemplated on the Cape for over 20 years.”

The language for the creation of the fund is similar between both versions of the bill.

“There are minor difference between them but those can be easily reconciled,” Gottlieb said.

When it comes to the additional 2.75 percent tax on local rentals, the House version of the bill is more limited in scope and would provide less money to the trust fund, according to Gottlieb.

“The broader net that is cast by the Senate provides a greater level of relief to local taxpayers and therefore I think is a better outcome for the region,” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb said the Cape and Islands legislative delegation has been influential in getting the fund included in the legislation.

“In particular, lead sponsors in both the House and the Senate, Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown) and Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) really did a lot to move this thing forward,” he said.

The next step by legislators will be to create a conference committee to reconcile both versions into a final bill to be sent to Governor Charlie Baker for his signature.

Once the committee is created, the APCC will work with the local delegation to convey the importance of the water protection fund to the conferees.

“The APCC will stand by to provide technical support to the conference members to make sure that the final legislation language meets the needs of the region as best as possible,” Gottlieb said.

The organization has been a leading proponent of the water protection fund and has worked with other community leaders, including the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and the Center for Coastal Studies, in advocating for its adoption.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

Material from the Associated Press was used in this article.

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