Letter to the Editor

Hands off AIRBNB

AIRBNB, the international online service that allows travelers to rent rooms from homeowners and other individuals around the world has been wildly successful since its inception, barely 5 years ago, by two Bay Area students who found it hard to pay their rent. The service not only allows travelers an opportunity to find inexpensive lodging with people they can correspond with before they book, but in a larger context, it has been a tremendous success in global goodwill, an opportunity for people to connect with their hosts and their communities that would not have otherwise been possible.

And for those who host, the benefits have been even greater. In a time when small business, along with jobs, is becoming extinct, AIRBNB has made it possible for people, like myself, to keep our homes. As a senior struggling to live on social security, it's been a tremendous blessing, and I am not alone. And AIRBNB can also provide revenue to the city of Tucson—in Phoenix, for example, lodging and other taxes are paid by AIRBNB to the Dept. of Revenue. And I, like other hosts, pay state and federal income taxes for the revenue we collect.

So why is Pima County trying to shut AIRBNB down? Pressure from the hotel industry? Because the Pima County is trying to claim that all AIRBNB hosts are commercial properties, which means they must pay commercial property taxes, and all the other expenses that go along with that. Which pretty effectively puts us all out of business. In a time when so many are struggling to survive, in my opinion, once again we are not allowed to use what few resources we have to do so. A loss all around and further impoverishment on many levels.

— Lauren Pillsbury

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