Lawmakers concerned that mayor’s budget relies on Airbnb tax

They say dependence on lodging tax will deter regulations on the industry

May 04, 2017 09:30 AM
Airbnb Founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky (Credit: Getty Images)

Lawmakers are concerned that Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed budget depends on Angelenos continuing to be allowed to rent out their homes on sites such as Airbnb.

Garcetti is banking on more than $33 million from Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms, which are required to collect lodging taxes per an agreement struck last year, the Los Angeles Times reported. The tax money will go toward closing an estimated $236 million shortfall, according to the budget.

That move could put Garcetti in conflict with the L.A. City Council, which has long considered regulations and limits on short-term rentals, citing concerns that homes are being operated like hotels.

Council member Mike Bonin said the reliance on Airbnb revenue is troubling.

The financial dependence could “build up a fiscal firewall against sensible regulations” on Airbnb, he told the Times.

According to Airbnb’s own projections, the city would lose out on $15 million in tax revenue if regulations were to pass.

The tax money “has become a sort of drug that [the city has] a hard time saying no to,” neighborhood activist Judith Goldman told the Times. “We can’t allow City Hall to make decisions based on the bottom line instead of the good of our city.” [LAT] — Cathaleen Chen

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