Transient occupancy tax; any county ordinance may levy on single-family residences rented out. (HB2587)

Introduced By

Del. Steve Landes (R-Weyers Cave)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Transient occupancy tax. Provides that any county, by duly adopted ordinance, may levy a transient occupancy tax on single-family residences rented out for continuous occupancy for fewer than 30 consecutive days. Amends § 58.1-3819, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

  • 01/22/2009 Presented and ordered printed 096700592
  • 01/22/2009 Referred to Committee on Finance
  • 01/24/2009 Impact statement from TAX (HB2587)
  • 01/26/2009 Assigned Finance sub: 2
  • 01/28/2009 Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote
  • 02/10/2009 Left in Finance

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: SB1029.

Comments

Wayne Lewandowski writes:

Senator,

Looks like you are visiting ground you covered last year. Why are you driving to put a tax on homeowners that defer costs of second homes by taxes short term rental? These folks are not buidling a business and could derail an already fractured real estate market.

Barry Mark writes:

The opponent of short term rentals are obviously at it again. Do you really think this is going to be a major source of revenue? This is a thinly disguised effort by Senator Hanger to help (once again) his chums that are fighting short-term rentals in Massanutten. The argument that short-term rentals compete with B&B's or hotels is ludicrous. In Massanutten, Great Eastern will simply build more rental condos to absorb the folks displaced by the killing off of short-term rentals. The B&B folks know that they could be targeted next by the intolerant folks that are pushing this legislation. You should adopt the wise position of the County of Rockingham and let the Massanutten issue get resolved by the folks that live there. One more thing - great idea raising taxes in the midst of the worst economic crisis in 80 years.

Jeff Goering writes:

Last year the opposition to SB471 was met with "surprise". Since there is still ongoing litigation in Massanutten (your home constituency) - you can expect that this new bill SB1029 will be met with great resistance. I live in Augusta County, a (traditional) main source for your support and there is a growing number of folks that wonder why you would be leading the charge for new taxes.

Ryan Nelson writes:

This bill is ill-advised at this time. While the bill is much better than last year's version because it does not define short-term rentals as commercial use, the bill still must make explicit that any county tax on short-term rental of a single family residence does not change the residential use to commercial use. That is clearly the intent of the bill. It would make no sense otherwise, since a county would never tax an entity when by simply imposing the tax, that entity could then become illegal and therefore deprive the county of the very tax revenue it was intending to collect. Still, there are a number of misguided opponents of short-term rentals who have made even dumber arguments (and continue to do so) in opposition to short-term rentals. All of those arguments have been repeatedly rejected but they continue to come back for more pain. Short-term rentals will remain in Virginia even under this bill, but the bill should recognize and address the ongoing controversy explicitly so there is no question.

Sherrill Glanzer writes:

OH NO! Not again. The Massanutten issue simply needs to remain a Massanutten issue. A few disgruntled folks (with connections to you) should not be able to have their Senator present a bill that promotes an agenda of a few! Get real, do your homework and see what disastrous consequences this would have on the RESORT economy!

Barry Bless writes:

We are shocked that SB1029 passed the Senate finance committee.
My wife and I built a second home as a future retirement home and a place to vacation with our children.
To defer the expense we rent it out for short periods of time. If this bill passes we will fall under the same legal category as hotels and motels and other commercial entities. We will be unable to rent to “transients” (mostly friends) in an area zoned residential. Or when restrictions and covenants prohibit commercial use.
If this bill passes we will have to sell or rent our house year round. Does it make sense to tax an activity; if once the activity is taxed the activity becomes illegal?
The right to sell and rent ones home to whomever one chooses should be kept legal no matter the duration of the rental.
We are not business people; we have no lobby or organization. We are just finding out about this bill and how quickly it is moving.
We are confident that as homeowners hear about it, this bill will meet opposition and be defeated.

Jennifer Watson writes:

t is my understanding that this bill expands the authority of localities to include the taxation of single-family dwellings for transient occupancy.

It is a bill to increase taxes on homeowners during a recession.

Senator Hanger, you were quoted in the Daily News Record on January 31, 2008 as saying, “It’s not fair that Motel 6 can be taxed when it competes with short-term rentals down the road that aren’t [taxed].”

Senator Hanger, my husband and I built a second home as a retirement home and a place to vacation with our family. We rent it out for short periods of time to defer expenses.

Motel 6 is owned by ACCOR, a French-national corporation with over 4,000 hotels worldwide (in over 100 countries) with over 900 motels in the US and Canada alone. ACCOR is “the largest owner/operator of economy lodging in the world.” This is stated on their Web site.

If SB1029 passes, our home will be put in the same legal category as Motel 6, other hotels, motels and commercial entities. If passed, this bill could make renting a home illegal in a residential zone.

This bill threatens our ability to keep our family home.

Carol Ischinger writes:

We have a 2nd home in Massanutten which we use and also rent for short term use. We bought our second home with the intention of moving there in retirement. The idea that we should be in the same category as motels is absolutely ludicrous and threatens our ability to keep our home.

Senator Hangar we question your motives. You have tried this tatic before. With all the problems facing our ecomomy particularly the housing market, I wonder why you are considering causing more damage to the real estate market.

Do not vote for this change. Do not change the language to put our homes in the same category as motels!!

Andrea Kojan writes:

We make a ski trip to Massanutten every year with friends, and we like to rent a house there because the condo's don't work well for our two families. If passing this legislation leads to the short-term rental houses being banned in Massanutten or in other Virginia ski resorts, then we will simply have go to Pennsylvania or West Virginia from now on. It's a sad state of affairs when we have to take our tourism dollars out of the state!

What are the folks in Richmond thinking when they are threatening the Virginia tourism industry at a time like this? Please people -- come to your senses!

M G Chambers writes:

This is a very small number in the DC area and getting smaller. Also it seems to fill a need

Bob Bloomquist writes:

Oh yes to SB 1029! People that rent mutiple properties in a residential neighborhood can not claim they are deferring cost of owning a second home. I call it a business. When similar businesses are required to pay a transient properties taxes it hard to believe the tax should not be applied equally.
If you actually lived in Massanutten you would know it is not only a few disgrundled folks that feel as I do,it is the overwhelmining majority of homeowners.
Call us dumb if that makes you feel superior.You say we are chums of the Senator, simply not true, perhaps a better choice would be his constituents.
I do agree this bill or another bill should be explicit in not allowing " transient businesses " to be permitted in single residential zoned neighborhoods. I also agree it is a local County issue and the Rockingham County Supervisors neeed to realize that running a motel syle operation in a residential zoned neighborhood should be declared illegal.

Peter Burke writes:

I have owned vacation property in Vermont, Colorado and Virginia for over 30 years and was able to do so by renting my condos/homes to tourists for weekends and weekly time periods. The proposed taxation is another attempt to shutdown this practice. I don't consider my vacation property comparable to motels, hotels, boarding houses or campgrounds. These properties are operated strictly with the sole objective of achieving 100% occupancy and maximizing profits. I think Senator Hanger is confusing apples and oranges. Kill this bill!

Barry Mark writes:

Thanks to Mr. Bloomquist for proving my point - this is all about banning short-term rentals, not fair taxation. Senator Hanger continues to poke at this as a tax issue, when in fact he is simply carrying the water for the Massanutten anti-rental folks. I am guessing he is taking this tact as his more straight-forward attempt last year resulted in his colleagues getting slammed by their constituents who rent homes short-term.

Lisa Smith writes:

My family stays at short-term rental houses at Sandbridge and Massanutten every year. We do this because it costs less than renting three hotel rooms. If short-term rentals get more expensive or god forbid banned, we will have to go to the Outer Banks and Wisp from now on. Why does this issue keep coming up? Short-term rentals provide a valuable service to large families. Why can't folks just leave them alone?

Eric Bahr writes:

Senator,

With our present economic difficulties this bill could cause a massive amount of vacations property owner to either sale or in the worst case default on their vacations homes. My family and several friends own retirement/vacations houses that under this bill would now be considered business properties. If this bill passes I will have no other recourse then to sell my property and reinvest into a state that supports retirement/vacation home ownership.

Jami Gustafson writes:

Does this make any sense? This is not about taxes, it is about trying to ban short term rentals. Kill this bill and let the madness stop.

Rodney Gray writes:

Me and my family plan a ski trip every year. We only consider going to places where we can rent a house, Hotels and Motels are not an option. Part of the enjoyment of the trip is to be in a house where we can cook and relax after a day of skiing. What the Senator is proposing forces my hand to choose a location other than Massanutten to take my family, and my money to. With the economy as bad as it is, this bill seems to be more about keeping a select few happy than making sure tax revenue is collected. Maybe the Senator should focus his time on more pressing needs like transportation, and dealing with the huge deficit the state has. This bill needs to fail.

Jo Pumphrey writes:

The irony is, this bill will kill short term rentals in Rockingham County; thereby leaving nothing to tax! Make no mistake, this is not a bill about collecting taxes on short term rentals - it's to ban them. Do not pass this bill.

Preserve and J.C. Powell writes:

Senator Hanger's SB1029 and Delegate Landis' HB 2587 bills are positive steps for the Citizens of Rockingham County and the State of Virginia. Senator Hanger and Delegate Landis are Public Policy Makers who recognize that commercial investors who purchase homes in residentially zoned communities and rent these houses by the day are operating motels and as such their customers should pay taxes just as Holiday Inn's, Days Inn's, Marriott's and other motel operators customers pay sales taxes. The tax revenue which offsets in part the tax revenue loss by the motel industry can be used to build schools, libraries and other public sector infrastructure needed to keep our economy competitive and the make the lives of our children and grand children better.
Those who argue against Senator Hanger's SB 1029 and Delegate Landis' HB 2587 are just another group trying to avoid paying their fair share of the cost of providing public sector services such as police protection. Everyone wants these services but these investors in particular do not want their customers to pay any portion of the cost of providing the services.
These motel operations in the residential areas of Massanutten,VA, Elkton, VA and some 100 other Virginia Communities are presently depriving the Commonwealth of Virginia and Virginia Counties of much needed tax revenue at a time Virginia is reducing essential services such as Medicaid, not building roads that are essential to the future growth of Virginia's economy and reducing funding of education. Each time a group of 10 to 40 people rents one of these houses the state and county loses the sales tax revenue that these people would have paid if they were required to rent rooms at a motel whose cutomers are required to pay sales and other taxes. So the Citizens of Virginia should not be deceived. These are just investors who want to avoid paying taxes and they want their customers to avoid paying sales taxes.
These are not second homes. Commercial investors own up to four such motels in the residential areas of Massanutten. One such investor rented to an estimated 35 people (12 vehicles) within 500 feet of my home the weekend of January 24-25, 2009. At an estimated rental of $450 per day the average customer paid a dailey rental of $12.85. A Harrisonburg Motel would have charged an estimated rental to each of the 35 customers of $50 each day. The County of Rockingham and State of Virginia conservatively loss an estimated average of $175 each day in much needed tax revenue. Multiply $175 each day by 62 houses in Massanutten and an estimated 100 Virginia Communities and we begin to see the dimensions of the tax loss to the County of Rockingham and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

If Senator Hanger and Delegate Landis and the General Assembly add sales taxes to the bills the bills would be even more equitable and would replace in part the tax revenue being loss as motels in residential areas take business from Holiday Inns, Comfort Inns and other motels that are required to collect taxes from their customers. Either way SB1029 and and HB 2587 are the first step in requiring the customers of this group of investors to pay their fair share of the taxes required to fund public sector services and replace in part loss tax revenue.

I am a long term resident of Massanutten, VA. I am active in a number of Civic and religious organization with an objective of making the Community of Elkton, McGaheysville and Massanutten a better place to live and work.

This opinion is posted on behalf of Preserve, a Massanutten Community Organization and myself, J.C. Powell.

E Nicosia writes:

Your Honorable Senator Hanger,
I am writing to express my opposition to SB 1029. As a recent Massanutten visitor, we have come to love the area and plan to return for winter vacations yearly for the foreseeable future. However, we are only able to visit the area because we can rent single-family homes with which we share the costs with several other families. Winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding are costly and having access to affordable lodging is imperative. I sincerely hope that you will reconsider your support and not push this bill.

Charles Hawkins writes:

Senator Hanger,
I am a resident of your district and, indeed, voted for you last gneral AND primary election. I have always been of the opinion that you earnestly desired to do what is fair and right in your government dealings.

Please amend your bill to make it clear, that even though counties have the right to tax short term rentals of single family residences that any rental of a single family residence for any length of time is a residential activity and this ability to tax does not imply that a rental of a single family residence is a commercial activity effectively outlawed by the zoning regulations (where judiciary has already said that it is a residential usage). Otherwise your bill will have the effect of outlawing an activity that has been occurring at Massanutten for going on three decades. This isn't right to take this activity that has been occurring for decades and, all of the sudden, effectively make it illegal.

As I said, you are a fair and decent man and I'm sure you do the right thing.

Respectfully,
Charles Hawkins, Staunton

MVHA writes:

Senator Hanger and Delegate Landes:

As you can see from the comments, the overwhelming number of Virginians oppose the taxation of short-term rentals. But regardless of whether a tax should be imposed, it must be done in a way that clearly continues to permit short-term rentals throughout the state. If the world were full of rational people, this bill would not be a problem. Sadly, however, we have found that Massanutten has a few irrational people who will try to use this bill to prohibit short-term rentals (even though that clearly is not the intent or the impact). I ask you: do you really support the reasoning of Bob Blomquist and JC Powell? They state so many factual inaccuracies that have been rejected numerous times by the Virginia Supreme Court and Rockingham County. If their ridiculous rantings were not an issue, this bill would not be an issue. But there cannot be a serious discussion about these issues when opponents of short-term rentals refuse to acknowledge reality and maintain the same misguided goal to prohibit short-term rentals, a goal in which they have failed for nearly four years and will fail for decades to come. Short-term rentals will exist at Massanutten long after JC Powell and his happy band of cohorts are gone. Senator Hanger, you should not accommodate irrational constituents who repeatedly twist the truth for their own devices. No one at Massanutten has ever rented a home to 35 individuals. Yet this same rumor gets repeated time and time again. It's just ridiculous and almost deserves no response.

Like it or not, the Virginia Supreme Court (and every other state to look at the issue) has held that the short-term rental of a home is NOT a commercial business and is not like a hotel, motel, a Marriott, etc. The Attorney General in Virginia has repeated that statement. And the Rockingham County Board of Zoning Appeals has now twice supported that reasoning. Despite these repeated losses, opponents of short-term rentals cannot get a grip with reality. There is room to work together on these issues. But when the same old rejected arguments are trotted out, no one wins. We just go in circles, and short-term rentals continue as the permissible use that they are.

This is not about opposing any payment of taxes to Rockingham County for short-term rentals. Properly and clearly done to maintain the recognized residential nature of short-term rentals, taxes could be a win-win for owners and counties. But we cannot concede any ground to opponents of short-term rentals who are the real problem with all of this.

Preserve and J.C. Powell writes:

Senator Hanger,

Evidentially MVHA does not reside in Massanutten nor he or she invest the time to collect data to support his or her (not certain whether male or female since did not sign name)position. The 01/24/09 has been documented with photographs and anadol data collect observing the house.

Obviously MVHA does want to pay sales taxes.

For each opposing blog we should be able to provide the names and addresses of five citizens who support your SB1029.

I appreciate your support.

J. C. Powell

Cathleene Hellier writes:

Preserve is not an organization devoted to fairness of taxation. It is a group formed solely to eliminate short-term rentals in Massanutten Resort, as the comments of Preserve and J.C. Powell should make clear. Members of this group purchased their homes in a resort where homes have been rented short-term for decades, and now they wish to infringe on the property rights that their neighbors have long enjoyed.

Contrary to his statement, the vast majority of short-term rentals at Massanutten are second homes, but even those investors who own more than one home have a right to do so. The courts have ruled that short-term vacation rentals do not constitute business use and are permissible use.

My husband and I own a second home at Massanutten that we rent to make it affordable. We do not object to paying occupancy taxes, which we did for two years before Rockingham County stopped accepting payment. The hope of Preserve, however, is to have vacation home rentals equated with businesses so that they will no longer be allowed under zoning in most Virginia counties, thus making an end run around the courts and the counties. Any legislation of this type must be very clear that short-term rentals are residences and not businesses. Kill this bill.

Gene Hauze writes:

Senator Hanger/Delegate Landes:

I applaud and support your efforts related to SB1029/HB2587.

You should take note that in Massanutten there are three alternatives to accommodate overnight visitors. First, there are vacation rentals (single family homes in residential areas) that are rented out by individual property owners who currently do NOT collect and remit any transient occupancy tax. Second, there are timeshares (single family homes, townhouses, and duplexes in separate zoned areas) that are rented out by the Massanutten Property Owners Association (MPOA) and by Great Eastern Resorts that do collect and remit transient occupancy tax. Third, there are B&Bs (single family homes in A1/A2 areas) that offer rooms for rent by private owners that also do collect and remit transient occupancy tax. Your legislation would level the playing field between these alternative accommodations competing for business in the Massanutten tourism industry.

This lack of transient occupancy tax for the vacation rentals makes a real difference (cost-wise) to the vacationer. MPOA rentals (commissions and fees) were down by 27% from 2006 to 2007. While during the same period, the number of vacation rentals were up by 60% and their individual revenues remained relatively constant. This indicates that visitors were choosing to stay in vacation rentals over timeshare rentals given that the number of vehicles entering into Massanutten increased over this same period by a modest 3.5%. I believe this is partly due to the lack of patrons being charged a transient occupancy tax.

I strongly recommed that you ignore arguments which state that vacation rentals provide a service which is not available in the other alternatives. This argument centers around the fact that vacation rentals are cost effective for the simultaneous accommodation of multiple families. The vacation rentals are SINGLE FAMILY homes in SINGLE FAMILY residential areas. By County Zoning, they are not to be occupied by more than one family nor by more than 4 unrelated individuals. Vacation rentals occupied by more than one family are in violation of County Zoning and the owners can be fined up to $2,000 per VA Code of Law.

I hope you received my email with the attached petition listing 600 signatories asking Rockingham County to change its Zoning to ban these vacation rentals in residential areas. In the petition, vacation rentals were likened to hotels, motels, B&Bs and should be treated as such. This applies directly to your efforts to allow counties to levy transient occupancy taxes on them. Please note that 600 signatories is not "a few disgruntled folks" like often referred to by the vacation rental owners special interest group.

I would like to strongly urge you to amend these bills to include language that would allow the Commonwealth to levy Sales and Use Tax on these same category of accommodations. The Commonwealth, like Counties and Cities and Towns, could use additional revenues to meet obligations such as providing healthcare to those less fortunate Virginians among us and educating our youth. I hope you will consider such an amendment.

Thank you for your service to our Commonwealth.

Respectfully,

Gene Edward Hauze

annette andrews writes:

We do not support this bill as it would impact our desire to visit Massanutten. We visited in January, 2009 and stayed in a private home. It was the most perfect vacation. If we were denied access to renting private homes in the area, we would not return to this location. There are other states that offer private rentals and this is our preferred method of vacation home. This bill will result in lower revenues for your area. Please reconsider. Thank you.

Alice Henry writes:

It seems that the only two supporters of this bill are the men that are trying to ban short-term rentals state-wide. Where are the 600 folks that signed the petition? Probably no longer visiting the grocery store where they were accosted by the petitioners.

The fact that these two gentlemen are the only supporters certainly makes me believe the folks who are saying this legislation is really about banning short-term rentals instead of taxes. I can't believe a state senator would be backing legislation that would so seriously harm the hundreds of Virginians that rent short-term. If he was really trying to raise revenue ONLY, he should have written the bill in such a way that short-term rentals would be protected - seriously, how can you tax something that gets banned because you want to tax it?

Paul Robey writes:

I cannot believe that you are introducing this legislation. We would never have visited Virginia from Texas without the opportunity to stay at a private residence. Are there not other larger issues? Why destroy something that is beneficial to your state? I am deeply disappointed. Please do not pass this bill and work on reducing taxes instead.
Respectfully,
Paul Robey

Hazy Genes writes:

Just for the record, there are many signatures on the petition mentioned above that are false. I myself signed it twice using ficticious names and know several others who did the same. The paper I flush had more value.

Gene Hauze writes:

Senator Hanger/Delegate Landes:

I would like to thank "Hazy Genes" for providing his/her above insight to this debate. Gentlemen, I hope that you take note that the arguments of the special interest group supporting vacation rentals have been often characterized by personal attacks, character assassinations, and dishonesty rather than debating on the merits. Falsely signing a petition is just another example of the tactics. Not using ones proper name on a site such as this is another.

With regards to the petition, there were in well in excess of 600 signatures on the petition. Many signatures were thrown out when the list was validated -- signature like that of "Hazy Genes". The Massanutten list of property owners, Rockingham County Court Records, Rockingham County Tax Records, and other sources were used to verify names and addresses. It should be noted that the 600 signatories on the petition were not collected by "acosting" people at a "grocery store" (as there are none in Massanutten), but rather they were largely collected via discussions at the mailstations and at individual homes. The 600 signatories represent owners fighting to protect their primary residences and families that occupy them, whereas the opponents are fighting for their second (and in some cases third, fourth, and fifth) homes which are being used to generate income. It should also be noted that the petition signatories represent over 375 Massanutten properties (i.e. owner votes in the MPOA, Inc.). This is far more than any candidate has ever received in recent MPOA Board of Directors elections.

Further dishonesty by the supporters of vacation rentals can be demonstrated by the fact the roughly half of the 62 vacation rental properties were not properly assessed by Rockingham County. The County Commissioner of Revenues office found that vacation rental owners had under reported the number of bedrooms, bathroom, and square footage of their vacation homes. Just as an example, one vacation rental reported 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and 1,600 square feet to the Commissioner of Revenues Office, while advertising on their web site that the property had 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and twice the square footage. The Commissioner of Revenues collected 3 years of improperly paid back taxes on many of the vacation rentals in Massanutten. He reported that owners of vacation rentals blamed the inconsistency on their builders despite the fact that their was a recent tax assessment that was done.

I have been really taken back by the tone used in this debate. Myself and my family have been threatened, harrassed, and anonymously slandered in public by supporters of vacation rentals. I think that this is indicative of the business nature of the activity they are involved in.

Gentlemen, I know you both are men of wisdom and experience. You can likely discern the tone of the argument better than I can. I just wanted you to take note and correct the record for all those citizens of Massanutten who vote in your districts who signed the petition.

Again, thank you for your service.

Respectfully,

Gene Hauze

Hazy Genes writes:

With all due respect to Mr Hauze, some of the residents in Massanutten Village seem to be off just a bit when it comes to recognizing they live in a resort that began as and has continued since the 1970's to be a resort dedicated to vacationers and with a strong vibrant second home community that again thrived long before their arrival.

And when it comes to tactics and dishonesty, ask yourself this Mr hauze. Do you support a tax for revenue generation or is there another motive? I am certain that you and your good friends Mr Powell & Mr Keller et al hope to use this as a means to declare these single family homes, used as short term rentals as commercial.

I have yet to hear one reasonable argument that the homes themselves are not being used by the short term residents any differently than those used by long term residents. The occupants do the same things you do in the homes.

As spokesperson for Mr Powell, Mr Keller and the members of "Preserve" I would expect the same honesty from you that you demand from our side.

Is it about taxes or abolition?

The short term residents (my term) are no better nor are they any worse than the long term residents.

Ryan Nelson writes:

It's almost a waste of time to respond to Mr. Hauze, since he has such a total disregard for the truth. Hopefully, the state legislators will learn, as have voters in Rockingham County and Massanutten (even others who may agree with his position), that Gene Hauze does not generally know what he is talking about on these short-term rental issues. But so that Gene does not accuse me of becoming too personal (which is a good excuse when you are losing a debate), let's address the "merits" of his argument.

First, no one in Massanutten, whether short-term rental owner or long-term resident, has "underreported" the number of bedrooms for tax assessment purposes. The county records are notoriously wrong for everyone in the county and where requested have been corrected. Guess how much "tax" was being "lost" by the county-- less than $1 per year on most of the homes that were corrected. Thank you Gene for correcting the County records on such an important income producer.

Second, since when is "generating income" impermissible? Virginia has a long history of allowing homes to be put to use for income for rentals. That has never been thought to be illegal. And most homes at Massanutten, contrary to Gene's statement, do not "generate income." Revenue is different from income and most owners are lucky even to be able to pay the bills to offset their expenses.

Finally, many short-term renters are in full agreement to pay a tax to the county and/or the state. But, as is done elsewhere throughout the state and the nation, it must be clear that the tax is separate from the landuse issue. Short-term rentals are residential designations. We have court orders and a Virginia Supreme Court case making that clear. This proposed bill does not change that. But Gene Hauze will argue that it does, and he will lose in court or before the county or whatever forum just like he always does. But we have to spend time with his frivolous arguments. So why should the state legislature accommodate him? Let's work out a tax proposal that is mutually beneficial.

Kill this bill and adopt one that will actually allow the counties to get tax revenue on residential rentals. Don't adopt a bill that leaves any room for plaintiffs such as Gene Hauze and JC Powell, who have personal agendas, to pursue their cause to eliminate short-term rentals. These guys are not interested in revenue income for the county. They are using the county and the state to try to get some other foothold against short-term rentals, and will then try to deny the county the very tax revenue this bill was proposed for in the first place. Because as it stands now, short-term rentals are legitimate and permissible in Virginia and Rockingham County.

Barry Mark writes:

Mr. Hauze, like Mr. Bloomquist and Mr. Powell, has confirmed what most people already suspected about this bill. It is being pushed not by folks in favor of fair taxation - but by people that want to ban short-term rentals in Virginia. All three of these gentlemen have well documented records of trying to ban short-term rentals in Massanutten. Senator Hanger and Delegate Landes are apparently being asked by them to do through the tax code what the Virginia Supreme Court has already rejected - ban short-term rentals. Not one B&B or Motel/Hotel owner (the alleged group being disadvantaged by the status quo)has voiced support for this bill on this forum. Virginia Representatives considering this bill should now be very clear on the motive behind it and should clearly demand that any bill to tax short-term rentals must be worded in such a way that short-term rental owners (including those with rental cabins in Page County - the soon to be "Cabin Capital of Virgina") are guaranteed the right to exist. Since this bill does not offer that protection, it should be voted down.

Rick Whitaker writes:

Any legislator that votes in favor of this bill had better be prepared to hear this during his/her next election campaign "Congressman_____ voted to raise taxes on home owners during the worst economic crisis in 80 years"