Ensure a Fair, Level and Legal Operating Environment
As one of the highest taxed and regulated industries, the AzLTA advocates to enhance the business operating environment for Arizona’s hotels and resorts, travel, tourism, professional sports, CVBs and local businesses that support the industry.
- This is an industry which embraces innovation and competition, the hallmark of our industry.
- The industry is a steward for health and safety laws critical to protecting visitors and guests.
- We partner to maintain the vigor and vibrancy of this top economic engine for Arizona.
Opposition: Invest in Education Act
This past month, we convened with a diverse and broad group of business leaders across the state in preparing opposition to an income tax hike ballot initiative, the proposed Invest in Education Act.
The Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association represents a diverse and broad alliance of businesses across the state – more than 95,000 guest rooms statewide and members, inclusive of world-class resorts, hotels, sports teams and tourism venues, airlines, attractions, arts, culture, culinary and hundreds of businesses that supply goods and services to these entities – and we stand united in opposition to the proposition.
A growing economy has delivered increased business activity and visitor volume to our state, resulting in new and sustained job growth and a stronger operating environment. The proposal to double Arizona’s top income tax rate would be detrimental to Arizona’s economy and is disastrous public policy.
Our industry is known to embrace competition and innovation, and we recognize how much damage this initiative would do by taking Arizona’s top income tax rate to 5th highest in the nation. It will diminish our ability to compete to attract vital businesses and travelers.
Stop Drive-by Lawsuits: Established a “notice and cure” period within the State ADA Law
The AzLTA joined a broad coalition of business and community stakeholders ranging from bankers to retailers to hospitality in support of hallmark legislation to establish a “notice and cure” period within Arizona’s Americans with Disabilities Act. SB 1406 (public accommodation; services; civil action) deters frivolous lawsuits as witnessed by more than 1,700 Arizona businesses. SB 1406 ensures compliance with the state’s disability access law, while protecting employers from disingenuous maneuvers by attorneys who are looking for nothing more than a payday. Further, it strengthens Arizona’s commitment to being open for all business.
- Businesses must be given a written notice of violations before a civil suit can be filed.
- Provides a cure period of 30 or 60 days – depending on whether the violation is technical in nature or a structural violation that would require a government permit – to ensure that a reasonable amount of time is given for the business to reach compliance before facing litigation.
- Requires the aggrieved party to submit an affidavit stating that they have read the complaint, agree with the allegations and that they have not been promised anything of value for filing a civil action.
- Prevents an aggrieved person or the aggrieved person’s attorney from demanding or collecting money before the expiration of the defined cure periods.
*Please note, establishing a “notice and cure” period remains a priority in Federal ADA Law.
Defining a Joint Employer
The AzLTA celebrated passage of Arizona HB 2322 which clearly defines the relationship of a franchisor and embraces this historic pathway to small business success. With 61 percent of hotels considered small businesses, the hotel industry has thrived by fostering opportunities for small business owners to open their own hotels thanks to the franchise model. In August 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its decision in the Browning-Ferris Industries of California (BFI) case and created a new “joint employer” standard under federal labor law.
- For more than three decades, the traditional joint employer standard has been one of the cornerstones of labor law, protecting small businesses from undue liability involving employees over which they do not have actual or direct control.
- The new standard makes employers potentially liable for actions and activities of employees that they do not employ and it could jeopardize business to business contractual relationships.
*This issue must still be fixed at the federal level to protect small businesses from fraudulent lawsuits.
The Sharing Economy – STRs
Competition is the hallmark of the hospitality industry, and we thrive when everyone plays on a level playing field and by the same rulebook designed to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests and our communities. Arizona’s hospitality industry is the second largest industry in the state and supports over 300,000 jobs; visitors alone generate more than $3.5 billion annually in state, local and federal taxes. Having said that, it causes great concern when a group of bad actors exploit platforms such as Airbnb and do not adhere to the measures that are in place to protect consumers, communities and overall economic development.
Additionally, some aspects of short term rental platforms enable and even incentivize landlords to convert homes and apartments into STR rentals, thus decreasing the available housing stock and driving rent prices up across the country. This is having an enormous impact in Arizona, particularly in our rural communities where tourism is the lifeblood of these local economies.
Unfortunately, SB 1350did not hold short-term rental platforms accountable, provide enforcement or establish transparency thus enabling this growing group of bad actors to multiply.
While we support new entrants to the sharing economy and the competition it brings, we must be aware and very cautious of the negative impacts and repercussions this group of bad actors is having on our state. Arizona needs a comprehensive solution that creates a fair, level and legal playing field for competition and ensures the safety and wellbeing of Arizona communities.