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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

MI short-term rental owners may face new long-term costs

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Monday, April 29, 2024   

Proposed regulations in Michigan could have a major impact on the state's tourism industry. The series of 10 bills introduced by House Democrats would do more to regulate short-term rentals.

The proposals include a 6% tax on rentals of 15 days or more, increased safety requirements for things like smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and a $100 annual registration fee per listing.

Erika Farley, executive director of the Rental Property Owners Association of Kent County, said she has concerns - especially about the additional tax.

"We are looking for more parity along with the hotel industry, basically," said Farley. "The 6% excise tax, along with the other taxes, would actually be a higher tax - anywhere between 5% and 7% for short-term rentals - than it would for an actual, traditional hotel."

Farley added that short-term rentals aren't just for tourists - they're also an affordable option for professionals who need a temporary place to stay while in town on business.

In New Buffalo, a lakefront community with a population of about 1,800, Mayor John Humphrey said he doesn't agree with every aspect of the bills - but he's all for taxing short-term rentals.

Humphrey said his community has suffered for year due to what he calls the "gigantic" unrecovered tourism costs generated by these rentals - including negative affects on roads, sewer, water, and other public infrastructure.

"Every short-term rental has a residential use of 10 - residential use means the number of people that use the home - where a standard residence is only 2.2," said Humphrey. "And those costs are not recovered because there are no excise taxes, there are no use taxes, there are no lodging taxes on short-term rental."

If passed, the legislation could generate between $35 and $70 million. Backers say that money would be distributed to the local governments where the rental properties are located.

The bills have been referred to the Committee on Local Government and Municipal Finance.





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