Model Legislation by Hotel Lobby Also Proposes New Regulatory Scheme While Hotels Receive Billions in Corporate Welfare.
As readers know by now, we’ve begun looking into the hotel industry’s efforts to slow the growth of the home sharing industry, a more sustainable form of travel. Only hours after we published a new report on how major hotel companies have received $3.6 billion in corporate welfare checks since 2008, Business Insider revealed the next step in the hotel industry’s lobbying efforts to protect its market share.
According to internal American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) documents, obtained by Business Insider and confirmed by the lobbying group, the model legislation proposes that:
- Homeowners would be forced to pay a tax of $2,500 each just to “register” to rent their home – amounting to more than $1.25 billion in tax income for local governments
- An annual renewal fee of $250 for each registration, and
- An inspection by the local health & safety department.
Business Insider calulates that Airbnb’s half a million listings alone would generate around $1.25 billion in tax income for local governments.
For someone who simply wants to rent out a spare bedroom or a vacation home to make some extra cash, these new taxes and regulations seem pretty severe to us.
Hotel Lobby’s Top 15
We found this model legislation curious, especially in light of the fact that major hotel chains that are central players in AH&LA have engineered pretty good deals for themselves at taxpayer expense.
Our survey of 55 news and business media outlets found that since 2008, 37 parent hotel companies received at least $3.6 billion in direct taxpayer support for 79 unique hotel projects. This graphic shows the top 15 companies:
The revelation of AH&LA’s model legislation follows the same path worn by the fossil fuel lobby – mature, highly profitable industries getting politicians to give them taxpayer money to underwrite their profits and block upstart competitors in the market.
AH&LA member companies have secured massive amounts of corporate welfare and now want politicians to tax ordinary people whose home rentals might compete with them. That’s the mark of not just a mature industry, but a powerful lobby.
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Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, a national watchdog blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from sustainable economy philanthropies and donors.