August 16, 2016
LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A wide-ranging coalition representing hotels, labor, affordable housing activists and others urged city leaders today to back off from an agreement in which Airbnb has agreed to pay hotel taxes on behalf of its short-term rental hosts. The groups say collecting taxes from an industry not regulated by the city sends a mixed message, and urged Mayor Eric Garcetti in a letter today to delay the tax collection agreement, which was reached in July and officially began Aug. 1, until after an ordinance has been adopted. “The agreement with Airbnb gives legitimacy to an illegal industry that the City Council determined cannot continue to go unregulated,” the groups said. “This type of arrangement also makes enforcement of the proposed ordinance more difficult.” The groups said the regulation proposed in April by the Planning Department “achieves the right balance” and “entering into a deal with Airbnb before the ordinance has been passed by the City Council is both disingenuous to all the stakeholders involved in the process and counterproductive to the efforts of the department.” They also said they are troubled “that the agreement does not require Airbnb to disclose pertinent information that is necessary to audit taxes remitted to the city.” “We question why the city would enter into such an agreement without also outlining a methodology for audit and review,” the letter said. The letter was signed by representatives from Keep Neighborhoods First, Unite HERE Local 11, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), the California Hotel & Lodging Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Coalition for Economic Survival, the Hotel Association of Los Angeles, Venice Community Housing and SAJE (Strategic Action for a Just Economy)….