We are in the last few weeks of this Shelby County Commission and if you thought they won’t do anything big, well you’re wrong.
This is a story of, if we’ve got to do it, you should have to do it.
The we in this story are the hotels and motels who charge hotel-motel taxes, city bed tax, a county bed tax, sales taxes.
The You are Shelby County AirBnBs.
Terry Roland says nobody is keeping an eye on them.
“Some of these people are using the AirBnB’s and they’re splitting up a house in like four sections and renting them out basically like a boarding house,” he says.
The Roland idea is to make all AirBnB operators in Shelby County buy a business license, which costs $65. Then they have to charge bed taxes, and hotel motel taxes.
Almost 20% of the total hotel bill in Shelby County is tax.
Forcing AirBnBs to start paying is only fair according to the Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association.
“It puts these operations,” says the association’s Wayne Tabor, “… these short-term rental operations on the same level playing field as hotels.”
There are a few who think the idea just isn’t any good.
Conservative Commissioner David Reaves says, “You know, as a practical matter, I’m not for extending taxes when I don’t have to, so I’m not going to support it.”
If you check the AirBnB website for Memphis, there are some rooms going for as little as $25 a night.
Those days might be over.
According to Wayne Tabor, “There are hotels that are affordable also that pay the tax. It is a competitive operation to hotels. They’re selling a room, we’re selling a room.”