Airbnb opens Florida political committee with $1 million

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Airbnb, the online marketplace that allows people to find and rent vacation homes, has formed a political committee in Florida, state campaign finance records show.

“People versus the Powerful” was formed April 6 for the purpose of  “supporting or opposing statewide, legislative, multi-county and local candidates,” according to its statement of organization.

Its chairman is Tomas Martinelli of Miami, Airbnb’s Florida director of public policy and a former Florida Department of Transportation official.

For the committee’s first month of existence, the San Francisco-based company seeded it with $1 million. It has yet to make any expenditure, save for about $30 in bank fees, according to reports.

In December 2015, Airbnb began collecting and remitting the transient and sales taxes, including county-level tourist taxes in 22 counties, which are administered by the state. The company also started collecting and remitting the taxes in Pinellas County.

Last year, Airbnb began collecting taxes in more Florida counties, including Lee, Orange and Brevard.

Much like other “disruptive technologies,” state and local lawmakers will likely continue to discuss how to regulate these types of services.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.



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