Barron was uncharacteristically absent, and later explained that he was attending a Girl Scout ceremony for one of his daughters. .
Mike Stershic, President of DiscoverLV, the area's tourism agency, agrees with Barron that these rentals are subject to both state and local hotel and sales taxes. But he raised the question, one repeated by others, whether imposing a tax "legitimizes them as a business activity" even though they have failed to go through the planning, zoning, parking, code inspections and other health and safety issues that are addressed by legitimate hotels.
Laura Di Liello, a principal at the Lafayette Inn, is "thrilled" that someone has finally noticed "that a great deal of overnight lodging is taking place for which no tax is being collected." In her opinion, most of these properties operate illegally. She told Council these Ubers of the hospitality world "should be held to the same standards as professional innkeepers' with respect to hotel tax, state sales tax,. liability insurance, and health and building inspections. But she argues that "[i]f the County begins to accept lodging tax from these property owners without insuring that they meet all local, county and state requirements, you would be granting them validity and giving the impression that they're operating legally."
She noted that many counties and cities have entered into agreements in which Airbnb or some other online referral agency collects hotel tax. The county gets revenue, but no information about who the hosts are or where located. "This allows those properties to continue to operate illegally and thus necessarily compromise public health, safety and welfare. She asked Council for a "fair and level playing field that supports small businesses in our community."
"If they are breaking the law, they should be put out of business," said Bob Werner, whose Easton district includes the unregistered Easton Bohemian and Easton College Hill Antique.