Does AirBnB get a free ride in Bremerton?

At a recent city council meeting in Bremerton, I asked if AirBnb type rental companies are required to pay lodging taxes. I was curious, given the small amount of money that was raised through city lodging taxes. T

He replied that yes, these types of properties are required to pay taxes, however, Councilor Kevin Gorman quickly added something like “Well, when we see them”.

In response, I filed an information request with the Town of Bremerton asking how much tax has been collected in the past 3 years and from how many owners for short term rentals like AirBnb. Their response was that they had no record of taxes collected from Airbnb-type companies over the past 3 years.

Over the past 3 years, rents have skyrocketed and the availability of affordable rental properties has dropped dramatically while the number of Airbnb businesses has grown dramatically. Airbnb’s negative effects on affordable housing have been well documented across the country. Do these types of businesses get a free ride to Bremerton? If yes, why? City officials shouldn’t be allowed to selectively choose who should pay their taxes?

Jeff Campbell, Bremerton

This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: Does AirBnB get a free ride in Bremerton?

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