Tax on short-term rentals ad­vances

Leg­is­la­ture seeks state’s OK to im­pose 2% charge on Airbnb-type lodg­ing

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­tri­cia Doxsey pdoxsey@ free­manon­ pat­ti­at­free­man on Twit­ter

The Ul­ster County Leg­is­la­ture has voted to ask the state for per­mis­sion to levy the county’s ho­tel/mo­tel tax on short-term rentals booked through web­sites like

The res­o­lu­tion passed 16-6 on Tues­day, even though there is no pro­posed lo­cal law pend­ing be­fore the Leg­is­la­ture to im­ple­ment the tax should the state grant ap­proval.

County Comptroller El­liott Auer­bach in March first raised the prospect of cash­ing in on the short-term rental busi­ness by levy­ing on those rentals the same 2 per­cent oc­cu­pancy tax now charged to pa­trons of the county’s ho­tels, mo­tels and bed-and-break­fast es­tab­lish­ments. He said he had struck a deal with Airbnb un­der which the on­line ser­vice vol­un­tar­ily agreed to col­lect the tax on prop­er­ties rented in Ul­ster County through the com­pany’s web­site.

Auer­bach es­ti­mated Ul­ster County would col­lect more than $200,000 from the firm in the first year.

But both leg­isla­tive and county at­tor­neys said the state law that al­lows the county to levy the bed tax didn’t ex­tend to lodg­ing booked on sites such as Airbnb.

On Tues­day, Leg­is­la­tor

John Parete said levy­ing a tax on those rentals was “long over­due” but that the county was “putting the cart

be­fore the horse” by ask­ing for per­mis­sion to en­act some­thing the county might not move for­ward.

Dur­ing a Demo­cratic cau­cus prior to the Leg­is­la­ture’s meet­ing, Parete, DBoiceville, said he had con­sulted with a lawyer out­side

the county gov­ern­ment and was told the same ap­proval the state gave the county to levy its ho­tel/mo­tel tax cov­ers rentals through on­line sites as well.

“I don’t know what the point of this whole ex­er­cise is when we al­ready have the

au­thor­ity,” Parete said. “I think we should put a res­o­lu­tion in to charge the tax on these [other rentals].”

On the floor of the Leg­is­la­ture, Parete sug­gested there could be an ul­te­rior mo­tive for the way the mat­ter was be­ing han­dled, say­ing

“there’s more be­hind this de­lay than folks are talk­ing about.” He did not elab­o­rate.

Vot­ing against the res­o­lu­tion, in ad­di­tion to Parete, were: Kevin Roberts, RWal­lkill; Craig Lopez, R-Pine Bush; Manna Jo Greene, DRosendale;

Tracey Bar­tels, a non-en­rolled voter from Gar­diner; and Richard Parete (John’s son), a Demo­crat from Ac­cord who cau­cuses with the Repub­li­cans.

Leg­is­la­tor TJ Briggs, DEl­lenville, was ab­sent from Tues­day’s meet­ing.


Ul­ster County Comptroller El­liott Auer­bach has es­ti­mated the tax could gen­er­ate $200,000 for the county in the first year.

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