Lawmakers in the 10th legislative district called for Gov. Phil Murphy to enact a bill exempting homeowners who rent directly from a short-term rental tax that was signed into law last year.
“The legislature has done our job to rework portions of the tax that are unfair to Shore homeowners,” State Sen. James Holzapfel said. “The governor’s inaction is troubling and irresponsible. While he vacations at his villa in Italy, rentals are going unoccupied and business is feeling the impact. We need this bill signed now.”
Last year, the state passed a law imposing sales and occupancy taxes on private rentals of less than 90 days in an effort to normalize tax rates between hotels and motels, which have long had to pay occupancy taxes, and short-term rental services like Airbnb.
A4814, the bill on Murphy’s desk, would narrow the scope of the short-term rental taxes, charging only those who rented through a service like Airbnb.
“We were worried about what this tax would do to the Shore communities, and the reality is as bad as we feared or worse,” Assemblyman Greg McGuckin. “Unheard of numbers of rental units are sitting vacant in prime vacation weeks, and owners are being forced to make deep discounts to fill openings. It’s not just homeowners who are feeling the pinch. The seasonal businesses that rely on the summer months to get them through the year are paying the price, too.”
It’s not clear how the new tax has impacted New Jersey’s tourism industry.
Though some homeowners reported a drop in revenues, Airbnb saw its summer-month income in the state rise by 39%, from $22.4 million to $31.2 million, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
It’s also not clear whether Murphy, who will return from a family vacation in Italy on Wednesday intends to sign the bill, which received unanimous support in both chambers of the legislature.
If Murphy signs the bill, it will go into effect immediately.
“There’s still a few weeks of the vacation season remaining,” Assemblyman David Wolfe said. “Summer tourism is too important to New Jersey’s economy for the governor to continue to ignore this important piece of legislation. He needs to step up and sign the bill now.”
Click play for audio version of this story