March 25, 2016

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Home-sharing sites need Arizona’s help

By
Andrea Deveau
The Arizona Republic

Arizona, as much as any state, is known for its hospitality to visitors from around the country and around the world.

So it’s no surprise that Arizonans have embraced home-sharing through online platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway. These innovative services allow Arizona families to share their homes with visitors and allow visitors to get an authentic Arizona experience.

What’s more, home-sharing creates enormous economic benefits for local Arizona businesses.

In the past year alone, 131,000 guests came to Arizona and stayed with 5,000 Airbnb hosts. Research shows this is a boon to local businesses because these guests spend twice as much as typical visitors, and 42 percent of their spending is in the neighborhoods where they stay.

In addition, hosts who list their residences on these sites are able to bring in extra income — an average of $4,000 per year — to pay their living expenses. And this isn’t just true in big cities like Phoenix and Tucson, but also in hundreds of rural communities across the state.

Home-sharing is a critical portion of the innovation economy and has incredible benefits for both hosts and local Arizona communities.

However, some in Arizona want to make it more difficult for people to share their homes with guests. Thankfully, leaders such as Gov. Doug Ducey and state Sen. Debbie Lesko are standing up for Arizona families.

In January, the governor launched the Council on the Sharing Economy to ensure the industry flourishes in Arizona. And Lesko has introduced legislation that protects and preserves home-sharing and the tourism industry in the state.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1350, provides Arizonans certainty that they can participate in the sharing economy no matter where they live.

In addition, the bill makes it easier for home-sharing platforms like Airbnb to work with the Arizona Department of Revenue and collect important tourist taxes from the hosts who list on these platforms and remit them back to the state. This is a win-win that helps hosts, guests and the state.

That's why TechNet supports Sen. Lesko's legislation and urges the Arizona House of Representatives and Gov. Ducey to approve it.

Doing so will foster competition and promote job growth, while sending a clear message that the Grand Canyon State embraces innovation and visitors from around the world.

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