There is untapped revenue in enforcing regulations


Newport’s 2019/2020 proposed budget contained an $817,000 shortfall. Suggested cuts included expenditures that could have affected cost-of-living adjustments, staffing, the library, parks, etc. On the revenue side of the equation, there was no serious discussion of a galling situation that has been obvious to me over the 30-odd years I was a tax professional. There are people who pay their fair share (taxes, fees, etc.) and there are those who don’t. In Newport, there is a similar situation no less galling to me.

Rogue Bed ‘n’ Beer operates three vacation rental units (matter of public record 2-CUP-19). As discussed during the conditional use proceeding (matter of public record), it was disclosed that this establishment had never obtained the required VRD license, nor had it paid the required room tax. These facts were not the issue of the proceeding, so the permit was approved and the non-compliance issues will be addressed, but probably not in a publicized, public manner.

The city has a policy of voluntary compliance, which in my experience means that there are few, if any, consequences for not following regulations that most of the rest of those in Newport follow. When the city was pushed, we were told that Rogue Bed ’n’ Beer has now obtained a current year license but there was no elaboration on any back license fees or fines charged for the many years it was not in compliance. Again, there seems to be no consequences in not complying with regulations: one just needs to start complying when caught.

There is untapped revenue in appropriately enforcing regulations. Newport should do what is fair, which would more likely result in voluntary compliance by the populace at large. If you don’t agree with taxes, fees, etc., engage in the public process and change them.

Mona Linstromberg

Newport

(Editor’s note: according the website for Rogue Bed ‘n’ Beer, the establishment is not currently taking new reservations.)

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