Washington Considers Excise Tax on Short-Term Rentals to Aid Homeless
In the realm of legislative progression, Washington’s state legislature is meticulously examining Senate Bill 5334 for the second year in a row. The crux of this bill is to enable cities and counties to levy an excise tax of up to 10% on short-term rental lodging. This proposed tax, rather than just being a revenue generator, is intended to serve a larger social cause. It is aimed at financing initiatives for homeless assistance, temporary shelters, and affordable housing.
Short-Term Rentals in the Spotlight
Chelan County, known for its over 500 operational short-term rentals, has been regulating this sector since July 2021. The county requires owners to secure permits for rentals that span less than 30 days. Furthermore, it has put restrictions to limit short-term rentals to a maximum of 6% of the housing stock in particular areas. However, an exception has been made for the Malaga urban growth area, where the limit extends to 9%.
Where Will the Tax Revenue Go?
The revenue generated from the proposed excise tax would be earmarked specifically for housing-related services. This means that the funds collected would be funneled into efforts to alleviate homelessness and provide affordable housing.
A Considerate Legislation
The bill under review includes provisions for exemptions that take into account age or income. These provisions could potentially benefit seniors, providing them with some relief. The bill, having successfully passed the state senate, is now under consideration in the House of Representatives.
Chelan County Commissioner, Kevin Overbay, has voiced the necessity for careful examination of any potential unintended consequences before implementing such a tax. The intent is to ensure that the execution of this tax does not inadvertently harm those it aims to help.