MHLA Monthly News – March 2017

Leveling the playing field for accommodations in MD At a hearing held on February 22, 2017, Senate Bill 463 was brought before the Senate Finance Committee. SB463 was introduced at MHLA’s request and creates a statewide framework intended to bring short-term residential lodging activity (Airbnb, HomeAway, etc) into compliance with state and local regulations.At the hearing, Senator Middleton indicated there will be a work group with stakeholders to address the issue of regulating short-term rentals in Maryland.  MHLA representatives will be present at the work group, which is scheduled to meet this Friday, March 10. Below, please find articles that discuss the current state of the short-term rentals issue in Maryland in regards to SB463. State eyes legislation for Airbnb, similar sites OC Today, February 23, 2017 Maryland hotels, online rentals spar over paying taxes The Baltimore Sun, February 22, 2017 Airbnb Faces Scrutiny Over Secret Tax Deals with Cities  In a report published on Tuesday, a former Montana state tax official claims the Airbnb arrangements shield commercial hosts from audits and back tax obligations, while wrapping the deal terms in a web of secrecy. This report was underwritten by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and further underscores the need for SB 463 and transparency in short-term rental activity.  To date, Montgomery County is the only jurisdiction in Maryland that has signed a Voluntary Collection Agreement. To read the full article in Fortune, click here. MHLA Legislative Reports available online  MHLA’s Legislative Committee continues to meet weekly to review and discuss the Association’s position on Maryland General Assembly bill that could impact our industry.  Go to www.MDLodging.org > Members > Legislative Reports to view the most recent tracking sheet.  A member log-in is required.  Contact Amy Rohrer, MHLA President & CEO, for more information on statewide or local issues we are tracking. Baltimore City $15 Minimum Wage Bill  A public hearing on Baltimore City’s proposed $15 minimum wage bill took place on March 1.  Amy Rohrer, MHLA President & CEO, was joined by two members of the Association, Khaled Said (Tanis Hospitality) and Brandon Rosenblatt (Commercial Laundry Corporation) who testified in opposition.  Despite hearing concerns from numerous business organizations and non-profits, the Baltimore City Council Labor Committee voted to advance the bill and this past Monday the full Council voted 12-3 to give preliminary approval before it advances to the Mayor’s desk for signing. If signed by Mayor Catherine Pugh, minimum wage will increase to $15 by 2022.  The phase in period would be extended to 2026 for small businesses.  The tip credit is preserved in the bill that is currently moving, so long as tipped employees make at or above the prevailing minimum wage. Anne Arundel County nuisance bill aimed at hotels vetoed  Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh vetoed legislation Friday (March 3) that would have given the police chief power to close down businesses where there are repeated crime and nuisance complaints.  (Read the full Capital Gazette article here.)  An attempt by the County Council to override the veto this past Monday was unsuccessful.
 
MHLA NEWS & EVENTS
Member Alert: Janitorial services at hotels ARE taxable  Sales of services in Maryland are not subject to tax unless specifically designated as taxable. Janitorial services are specifically designated as taxable when provided to commercial or industrial buildings and are not taxable when provided to residences. Note that under certain circumstances, non-taxable services may become taxable when performed as part of a sale of tangible personal property.If you are using a third party to provide janitorial services at your hotel, we recommend inquiring into their policy regarding this topic to ensure the tax is being remitted. January 2017 STR Report Occupancy, ADR and RevPAR in Maryland are provided monthly to MHLA by Smith Travel Research. To view the report, go to https://mdlodging.org/members/ and select "Industry Statistics and Research." We anticipate the February STR report will also be posted on our website soon. This report is provided to MHLA members as a member service and requires log in to access. For assistance email Christine@MDLodging.org Thank you for renewing Allied Membership in January Log in to view complete contact information for all Lodging Lodging and Allied Members. Thank you Allied Members & partners who joined/renewed in February (Log-in to view complete contact information for all Lodging and Allied Members.) Deadline to Submit MHLA Board Member Applications MHLA's Nominating Committee is meeting this month to review all applicants to the MHLA Board of Directors and determine the 2017 Nominating Slate.  The application deadline is Friday, March 10.  For more information, click here. Save the Date for MHLA Golf Outing October 4, 2017 The highly anticipated MHLA Annual Golf Outing will take place at Whiskey Creek on Wednesday, October 4, 2017.  A limited number of openings are anticipated on the Golf Committee, which will begin meeting in late spring.  Email christine@MDLodging.org if you would like to learn more and/or be considered for service.
 
LOCAL INDUSTRY NEWS
SpringHill Suites underway at new Greenleigh development in White Marsh A 120-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott broke ground at the 1,000 acre Greenliegh at Crossroads in White Marsh. The hotel is among the first commercial offerings in the $750 million “modern urban village” being built from scratch in the eastern Baltimore County suburb.For the full Baltimore Business Journal article, click here. Two DoubleTree by Hilton Annapolis Employees Recognized as Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association Stars of the Industry  At MHLA’s recent Stars of the Industry event, two leadership employees at the DoubleTree by Hilton Annapolis were recognized. Area General Manager Dhaval Brahmbhatt and Banquet Houseman Francisco “Chico” Ramirez were awarded top honors, as the General Manager of the Year and Outstanding Food & Beverage Employee of the year, respectively. The Awards Program is held annually at the beginning of the year, and both hotel line workers and members of management attend to see all nominees recognized and award recipients presented. To read the full Hospitality Net press release, click here.
 

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