4 political committees have raised $5.2M for Tuesday’s Airbnb referendum in Jersey City


Four political committees have raised an astonishing $5.2 million combined for Tuesday’s short-term rental referendum in Jersey City: here’s where some of that money has come from and been spent on.

Screenshots via YouTube, Twitter.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Keep Our Homes, the pro-Airbnb group pushing for a no vote on Tuesday, has received $4,211,193.00 from corporate headquarters, according to an October 28th filing with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

They have spent a staggering $741,643.68 on TV ad buys and have also paid at least four public relations firms, including Mercury Public Affairs. They received $30,000 in three, $10,000 installments on October 9th, an October 30th report shows.

On the other side that supports the vote yes movement, the Sharebetter Education Fund has spent $775,000 to date, including at least $500,000 to another New York-based PR firm, Metropolitan Public Strategies, based on their November 1st filing.

Another independent expenditure that is a joint effort between the Hotel Trades Council, the AFL-CIO, and Hotel Association of New York City, Inc., paid the same firm $400,000 back on September 11th, an October 10th ELEC report says.

Finally, the Jersey City Property Owners Association PAC reported spending $23,194.17 on Axiom Holding Co., a Rutherford-based PR company as of November 1st.

According to tallies provided by ELEC to HCV, cumulative fundraising is up to $5,242,501, with collective spending at $4,409,222.

That makes this by far the most expensive ballot initiative in New Jersey history, easily topping a 2010 ballot question in Trenton asking voters if they wanted to privatize their water supply.

That question was defeated and that race cost about $1.3 million if adjusted for inflation, according to ELEC.

The Jersey City Council approved a measure in June that included short-term rental changes such as creating an annual 60-day cap if the owner is not on site, prohibiting STR in buildings with more than four units when the owner is absent, and preventing renters from serving as short-term rental hosts.

The voters will decide on Tuesday whether or not those changes will be implemented as planned. The polls are open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.

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