Lodging Tax Is Still in Limbo – No Decision Has Been Made – August 9, 2018 5:31 PM
There has been some confusion this week about the lodging tax bill, as some local newspapers are have reported that the bill is a fait accompli. In fact, the bill is currently stalled, and we may not know for a while if it will pass or not.
The bill WAS passed by both the House and the Senate on July 29, and it was then submitted to Governor Baker. But instead of accepting or rejecting the bill, he returned it with his own amendments, resulting in the current unresolved status of the bill.
During the formal legislative session, which ended for the year on July 31, only a majority of the legislature needed to vote in favor of a bill. But during informal session, which they are in now, the vote must be unanimous, which means that it would take only one legislator to vote no and the bill would be dead. Formal sessions do not resume until Jan. 1, and, if the bill is not passed by then, the legislators will have to start all over again on a new bill that would likely not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2020.
We will continue to update this Blog as new developments occur.
Lodging Tax Is One Step Closer – August 1, 2018 9:41 PM
On Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 1, Governor Baker released his amendments to the lodging tax bill.
Lizzy Guyton, Governor Baker’s communications director said, “The administration believes the state must level the playing field for short term rental operators who are using their properties as de facto hotels, and Governor Baker filed a bill over a year and a half ago to do just that while protecting citizens who occasionally rent their property from burdensome government bureaucracy. While the original legislation called for regulating only operators who rent for more than 150 days, the governor is moving today to seek only a fourteen day minimum in hopes of working with lawmakers to reach an accord soon.”
Contained in the Governor’s amended version are the following provisions:
- Seeks a technical correction to avoid impermissibly redirecting revenue pledged to special obligation bonds issued under the Convention Center Act.
- Allows occasional users who rent out their properties for fewer than 14 days to avoid having to get a $1M insurance policy and register with DOR.
- To address privacy concerns, removes the street number from the publicly available registry but will require street name and city/town to be public.
- Leaves in place every other provision of the bill.
The House and Senate officially adjourned formal sessions for the year last night. This means that the House and Senate must now decide how to address the governor’s amendments- – they can adopt it, reject it and return the original bill to him, or propose an informal session during which an objection from any one lawmaker can prevent the bill from passing during this session
If approved, any lease that is signed after November 1, 2018, for occupancy after January 1, 2019, will be required to include the tax (5.7% state, up to 6% local, and 2.75% wastewater tax for Cape and Islands).
We will let you know as soon as we have more information.