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Committee kills Airbnb hotel tax bill in Baltimore

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Posted at 10:08 AM, Oct 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-12 10:08:31-04

A bill that would apply Baltimore City's 9.5 percent hotel tax to Airbnb rentals died in committee Tuesday.

The Baltimore Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee didn't hear the bill during their meeting.

Instead, Councilman Jim Kraft, chairman of the committee, declared that the bill will go no further with the Baltimore City Council this term. The current term ends at noon on Thursday, Dec. 8.

"The city will talk with the industry about taxes and regulations," he said.

RELATED: Baltimore considers hotel tax on Airbnb

Adversaries of the bill entered the meeting after the announcement, and were immediately told by Kraft to "go home."

Airbnb owner Jeannette Belliveau thanked the committee before blowing a kiss.

She spoke with ABC2 News after the meeting.

"We have our group of around half a dozen hosts here who were in complete disbelief," she left. "We left the room and hugged, just hugged.

"Now we have more time to work toward not a hotel tax, but maybe a short-term rental tax. It's very very modest but we'd be helping the city out with our short-term endeavors."

Owners like Evalyn Tyson wrote letters of protest to the committee members. She even made a protest sign for the meeting that read, "Hotel tax unfair to Airbnb hosts! Vote no please!!"

"I wrote letters of protest all weekend," she said. "I'm absolutely thrilled because it's our right to stand up. 

Many of the Airbnb hosts present for the meeting consider themselves to be ambassadors for the city. They were in agreement that their voices deserve to be heard if the city considers such a bill in the future.

The new city council will have to reintroduce the bill in the next session if it is to be considered again.

 

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