Councilman Campos Wants Airbnb to Pay Hotel Tax

San Jose may join a host of other cities trying to cash in on Airbnb, a website that helps people rent out their vans, spare bedroom, whole homes or anything in-between for extra income. And sometimes for other people’s income.

The city may be losing out on revenue by failing to enforce the transient occupancy tax, a 10 percent fee assessed to hotels and motels and collected on a quarterly basis. In a memo up for review at this week’s Rules and Open Government Committee meeting, Councilman Xavier Campos proposes implementing the tax “in the name of equality and fairness.”

“All temporary housing companies should pay into this fund whether they are a conventional hotel to temporary shareable housing rental,” he writes. “This will generate much-needed revenue for our city, create equality amongst the temporary housing industry and allow the more conventional businesses to remain competitive, especially since they employ many of our local residents.”

San Francisco-based Airbnb, which was recently valued at $10 billion, already pays a similar tax in Portland and agreed to pay it in San Francisco.

More from the Rules and Open Government Committee agenda for April 16, 2014:

  • A state bill that aims to ban outsourcing government services to private companies has drawn opposition from cities and counties over fears that it could limit local control. San Jose plans to formally oppose the union-backed bill, HR 29 by Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles), because it would restrict “local government’s ability to manage its very mission to provide vital local services in an efficient and economical way.”
  • The local water district politely reminded the city that we’re still in the midst of a severe drought and that everyone, even public agencies, have to cut water use by 20 percent.
  • City critic David Wall wonders if the regional water pollution control plant is playing a “shell game” with general fund money.
  • Recovering shopping carts is costing the city money, though the code enforcement program was intended to break even. Campos has a few ideas about how to fix that.

WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

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