Representative in Maine Legislature is an Unapologetic, Crony Capitalist
A bill (LD 436) has been introduced in the Maine legislature that will force providers of short-term lodging to be licensed by the State of Maine. Why is such a bill necessary? The bill was introduced after a senior adviser to Governor Paul LePage revealed that the governor is contemplating submitting a bill in the next legislative session that will call for the complete elimination of all government regulations and licensing requirements on lodging establishments. The owner of the Crock House Country Inn is fully committed to seeing that LD 436 is approved.
|Rep. Richard Malaby|
Maine Representative Richard Malaby (R-Hancock) is the owner of the Crock House Country Inn and is a co-sponsor of LD 436. Evidently, there are establishments in Maine that are significantly cutting into Malaby’s business, so he decided to take action against his unlicensed competitors. Malaby’s competitors can be found on airbnb.com. The website is used by home owners who want to rent out a room or entire home, house or apartment, for a short amount of time, normally less than a week, and for a much cheaper rate than what is offered by lodging establishments. Airbnb has been very successful at competing with lodging establishments in Maine, so successful that Malaby wants to eliminate it.
Malaby tries to hide his crony capitalism by contending that LD 436 is about safety. The Maine Wire reported that Malaby has attempted to deflect any criticism of his sponsorship of LD 436 by stating, “This bill is really about ensuring consumers receive the same safety protections from Airbnb as they do from establishments that are subject to government regulation.” So the bill has nothing to do with his ownership of Crock House Country Inn? He didn’t lobby Senator John Patrick to get him to present the bill?
Malaby’s attempt to pretend he is not engaging in crony capitalism is the same excuse big government politicians use to justify any and all regulations; without government regulations people will suffer great harm. The rooms and homes that are being rented on airbnb.com are not regulated by bureaucrats, so they cannot be safe. If the homes offered for rent on airbnb.com are not regulated there will be grave consequences for those who rent them. What the naive, stupid consumers using Airbnb to rent rooms and homes for short-term stays don’t realize is that without regulations and the bureaucrats who enforce the regulations, they will suffer calamities that will result in bodily injury and possibly death. I think I have summed up the big government argument.
Airbnb started in August of 2008. It currently has 800,000 listings, it is in 33,000 cities and 192 countries. The property owners who have offered up their homes for rent are still alive and well. Other than a couple of property damage claims submitted to Airbnb there has been nothing negative for owners or renters. Consumers are benefiting from accessing affordable, convenient lodging options.
The problem for Malaby is that he doesn’t want his business to have to compete with Airbnb. Malaby is taking the approach to his competitors that large corporations take when they don’t want to or are incapable of competing in the marketplace, he is using his political connections to eliminate his competition. Of course, in Malaby’s case, he enjoys a position of power in the Maine legislature that affords him the ability to lobby for or personally introduce legislation for self-serving purposes.
LD 436 is designed to eliminate Crock House’s competition. The bill not only requires providers of short-term lodging to be licensed, it also requires that “property rented as a vacation rental must be rented for a minimum of 7 days.” The bill will not only push Airbnb out of Maine, it will eliminate the use of vacation properties for short-term stays, both wins for Malaby.