Actor Ashton Kutcher is among a group of big names urging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to veto a bill that would fine Airbnb hosts up to $7,500 if they advertise short-term rentals in various multi-unit buildings.
The bill, approved by the State Legislature in June, is still sitting on Cuomo’s desk. He has until January to decide.
Kutcher — an Airbnb investor along with PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and dozens of others — sent a letter to Cuomo on Tuesday asking him to reject the bill. The letter appeals to Cuomo’s commitment to innovation and technology.
But on this issue, Cuomo is hearing from all sides. Earlier this month, the less famous but perhaps far more powerful Real Estate Board of New York sent its own letter to Cuomo, urging him to sign the bill. Cuomo is also hearing from hotel unions and others who favor the legislation.
One of the bill’s sponsors, state Assemb. Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), told The Wall Street Journal she thought a letter from Kutcher wouldn’t have an impact. “He’s trying to punk me,” she said, referring to the practical-joke TV series Kutcher created.
A Cuomo spokeswoman noted Wednesday that the Airbnb bill was one of more than 500 passed at the end of this year’s session. It’s “under review,” she said.
No word on whether Kutcher’s voice will make the difference in the governor’s decision.
— Randi F. Marshall