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April 28, 2017     Cape Gazette
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April 28, 2017

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18798 Coastal Hwy. (Rt. 1) Rehoboth Beach, DE 302-644-1776 ALL REG. PRICED MERCHANDISE Limited exclusions may apply. OFFER ENDS SUNDAY, MAY 7, 2017 Sale in progress at New Balance Rehoboth Beach only. 15% OFF REHOBOTH BEACH WWW.NEWBALANCEREHOBOTH.COM OF D E L AWA R E Custom Granite & Quartz Countertops Unique Tile & Stone WILMINGTON | 302-777-4663 | LEWES | 302-644-7100 | MIDDLETOWN | 302-225-9656 302-645-4773 · Serving Delmarva Since 1998 Your Full Service Irrigation & Lighting Specialists Now that SPRING HAS SPRUNG... Schedule your SPRING STARTUP TODAY! Create an eye-catching landscape 24 hours a day with beautiful outdoor lighting solutions from the illumination experts Call and ask about our FREE Lighting Demo! No obligation. 12 FRIDAY, APRIL 28 - MONDAY, MAY 1, 2017 NEWS Cape Gazette the beach, and adding an 8 per- cent tax would discourage those families from coming. Hopkins said he’s spoken with his campground-owning breth- ren, and they’re all against the legislation. “Every single campground owner I’ve spoken with,” he said to emphasize his point. “My phone has been ringing off the hook.” Rep. Deborah Hudson, R- Fairthorne, and Sen. Gary Simpson, R-Milford, introduced legislation April 13 that would apply the tax to short-term vaca- tion rental units. Under House Bill 130, short-term is defined as a rental term of 120 days or less. Campground, bed and break- fast locations, and internet-based lodging options, such Airbnb and VRBO, would all fall under the definition. The lodging tax, which dates to 2000, is already assessed on hotel and motel rental units in Delaware. A press release announcing HB130 said the Leg- islature’s Controller General’s Office estimates including short- term rentals under the tax would bring in $8 million to $11 million in annual revenue. Bruce Plummer, Delaware As- sociation of Realtors chair and a Rehoboth-based Coldwell Banker broker, was slightly more mea- sured in his reaction, but the message was just the same. The realtors association is against the bill, he said. “We realize the state has a budget shortfall, and we’re sym- pathetic to the idea that the state has to find ways to increase rev- enue, but our position is the state needs to grow the economy,” he said. Plummer said visitors to the state’s beaches expect a tax when staying at hotels and motels, but those prices per night are less than house rentals per week. He said short-term house rentals can run from $3,000 a week to $8,000 a week, or more, during the height of the season. When an 8 percent tax is added to amounts like that, it could discourage tourists, he said. “This is big business, and we would encourage something with the least negative impact on the economy,” he said. Property own- ers will pass the tax straight to the renters, he said. “I don’t know of a single landlord we deal with that wouldn’t.” The bill has bipartisan support, but only two Democrats –  Reps. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington South, and John Kowalko, D- Newark – have signed on. Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, said, plainly, he didn’t like the bill be- cause it solely targets the beach area. There might be two days a year, during race days, when the short-term rental market is boom- ing north of Milford, he said. According to the most recent reports, the state is facing a $390 million shortfall for the upcom- ing fiscal year, which starts July 1. Schwartzkopf said he recognizes the state’s budget issues, but leg- islators targeting one part of the state – because that’s where they think the money is – is not the way to approach policy making. Schwartzkopf said it’s inter- esting Senate Minority Leader Simpson and House Minority Whip Hudson are sponsors of the bill, and he said he looked forward to the support of the Republican leaders when other tax-raising measures are introduced in the future. The legislation calls for the proceeds of the 8 percent tax to continue to be earmarked in the following manner: 5 percent to the State General Fund, and 1 percent each to the Depart- ment of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Beach Preservation Program, the estab- lished convention and visitors bureaus in each county, and the Delaware Tourism Office. As of April 27, the bill has been assigned to the House Revenue & Finance Committee. UNDER HOUSE BILL 130, SHORT-TERM IS DEFINED AS A RENTAL TERM OF 120 DAYS OR LESS. CAMPGROUND, BED AND BREAKFAST LOCATIONS, AND INTERNET-BASED LODGING OPTIONS, SUCH AIRBNB AND VRBO, WOULD ALL FALL UNDER THE DEFINITION. Lodging levy Continued from page 1 Don’t miss the fun! Follow for local events.