Legislation that would relieve the costly consequences of a tax on short-term rentals that was imposed by Governor Phil Murphy last year continues to sit on the governor’s desk while evidence of the tax’s damage to the Jersey Shore economy mounts.

Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and Dave Wolfe (all R-Ocean) say they are frustrated by the delay and are calling on the Murphy administration to enact the bill before it’s too late for the summer season.

Rental Tax Relief

Holzapfel, McGuckin & Wolfe call for Gov. Murphy to sign legislation that would relieve the costly consequences of a tax on short-term rentals that he imposed last year. (Bing Maps)

“The legislature has done our job to rework portions of the tax that are unfair to Shore homeowners,” said Holzapfel. “The governor’s inaction is troubling and irresponsible. While he vacations at his villa in Italy, rentals are going unoccupied and business is feeling the impact. We need this bill signed now.”

The measure (S-3158/A-4814) was passed unanimously by the Senate and Assembly and has been parked on the governor’s desk since June 27. It exempts homeowners who rent directly to vacationers from last year’s so-called Airbnb tax which extended the 6.625 percent sales tax and the 5 percent hotel and motel occupancy fee to private rentals of less than 90 days.

A newspaper report published today confirms the law’s severe impact on the Shore season. According to the Inquirer, homeowners are having a difficult time finding renters and revenue is down by as much as 20 percent.

“We were worried about what this tax would do to the Shore communities, and the reality is as bad as we feared or worse,” said McGuckin. “Unheard of numbers of rental units are sitting vacant in prime vacation weeks, and owners are being forced to make deep discounts to fill openings. It’s not just homeowners who are feeling the pinch. The seasonal businesses that rely on the summer months to get them through the year are paying the price, too.”

“There’s still a few weeks of the vacation season remaining,” said Wolfe. “Summer tourism is too important to New Jersey’s economy for the governor to continue to ignore this important piece of legislation. He needs to step up and sign the bill now.”