Letter from TripAdvisor CEO & Founder Stephen Kaufer in opposition to bill S-6873
It’s 10:30 pm in New York. We have just received a letter addressed to Governor Paterson from TripAdvisor CEO & Founder Stephen Kaufer. We could not wait to post it and share it with all of you. Stephen, the involvement of TripAdvisor is greatly appreciated and your letter says it all.
July 22, 2010
Governor David Paterson
David A. Paterson
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Paterson:
On behalf of hundreds of vacation rental owners throughout New York City who provide an invaluable service to consumers, contribute to their local economies and depend on the modest incomes they derive from their businesses to support their families, I kindly urge you to veto Bill #S6873 (A10008). This legislation goes too far and threatens to shutter legitimate, trustworthy businesses.
For a significant and growing number of tourists who vacation in New York each year, vacation rental properties offer a cost-effective way to visit the city. As the nation strives to overcome the worst economic downturn in decades, families need to make every dollar count and not everyone who wishes to enjoy New York’s attractions can afford some of the more expensive accommodation options. These travelers and their families depend on vacation rental properties, and their owners, to offer affordable alternatives, especially for travelers who wish to extend their stay by a week or more.
Our role is to provide the facility for thousands of consumers to share their experiences renting properties by posting reviews on our websites, including FlipKey, Holiday Lettings and TripAdvisor®. The vast majority of these travelers, over 90 percent, have a positive experience.
A recent New York Times editorial commented on the Bill: “The governor should also encourage the mayor and his government to make sure young people can find an inexpensive way to bunk in the city. Not everybody can afford a hotel room for $300 a night.” What better means to provide an inexpensive way to bunk in the city, than to protect the legal and beneficial vacation rental business that exists today?
At a time when small businesses are struggling to overcome the challenges of a difficult economy and many states are increasingly eager for an influx of tourism, it is surprising to see any legislation that would limit tourism and curtail commerce. Vacation rental properties provide an economic contribution to their neighborhoods and should not be easily dismissed. A ban on rentals lasting less than 30 days could send many vacation rental owners into foreclosure. Who benefits if more people lose their homes and local economies are weakened?
Beyond the economic ramifications of Bill #S6873 (A10008), many of our partners do not believe it is the State’s role to regulate how people use their own properties if they are law-abiding citizens offering a valuable service.
Let us not forget that the outcome of this legislation will have a broad and sweeping effect on families and small business owners across New York City. We ask that you take this into consideration as you review the proposed legislation. Once again, I urge you to veto Bill #S6873 (A10008).
CEO & Founder
Thank you, Stephen, for bringing this debate to even greater visibility; this Bill is about New York, but its scope clearly reaches beyond our state to international travelers. We appreciate your support and involvement.