Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Testimony Nebraska Hotel and Lodging Association
February 10, 2017
The Nebraska Hotel and Lodging Association is opposed to LB628. This bill creates several serious concerns for local political sub-divisions, the lodging industry and consumer safety.
Our members support competition in the lodging industry which is a highly competitive marketplace. We are constantly working to improve guest services, promote innovation, expand growth and increase jobs. These goals can only be accomplished on a level playing field and in a legal manner that safeguards consumers.
If short-term rentals and the platforms that support them wish to be considered legal players in the lodging industry they need to follow the rules as does the rest of the industry. Enforcement of the rules whether state or local can only happen if the short-term rentals register as a business which can provide trackable data. Without registration and data collection there is no way to enforce safety issues or tax obligations.
This bill will limit the ability of a city, village or county to adopt an ordinance or rules that work to provide the security and character of residential areas. The governing bodies of these political sub-divisions have a responsibility to the people they serve. This bill would limit those governing bodies from protecting their communities and the visiting guests.
A major concern of the hotel industry has and will continue to be consumer safety. Our business is heavily regulated by local codes, ordinances, and internal regulations. We strive to ensure sanitation, health, and emergency plans that meet or exceed regulations. Many of the rules we work under are set by local governments which have a working knowledge of what is best for the communities which we serve and operate in.
Another major shortcoming of the bill is it makes no effort to address the tax issue. Hotels in Nebraska, depending on location, collect up to 18% in tax revenue. This tax base goes to state, county and local governments to support a wide range of programs and general funds. This issue not only affects the local lodging business, but the local tax base. Without some form of legal business entity in place, short-term rental properties and the companies that support them avoid their tax responsibility to the people of Nebraska.
We would ask the Committee to kill LB 628.