With average hotel rates upward of $350 a night, Manhattan is perhaps the costliest tourist destination in the United States.

Thankfully, much more affordable accommodations are available just a short $1.75 PATH ride across the Hudson River. And under a new proposal from Mayor Steven Fulop, Jersey City’s legal lodging options are about to become significantly broader.

If passed by the City Council, which will consider the measure tomorrow, the law would make Jersey City the first locality in the greater New York City metropolitan area to formally legalize spacesharing services like Airbnb. While New York State bans any home or apartment rental where the owner doesn’t remain on the premises, Jersey City would permit short-term rentals of up to 30 days for landlords with five or fewer properties on the market.

Fulop announced the measure’s introduction concurrent with an agreement with Airbnb under which the service will be responsible to collect the city’s 6 percent hotel tax from users. The city passed an ordinance earlier this year that applied the tax to short-term rentals.

Airbnb is incredibly popular and growing rapidly, and while some people might have concerns about the sharing economy upending old ways of doing business, the best way to address those concerns is by engaging with these companies, not pretending they do not exist. In the words of Bill Clinton, ‘You have to make change your friend.’ And that’s what we’ve done here by working with Airbnb.

The city of 262,000, the second-largest in New Jersey, expects to pull in between $600,000 and $1 million annually in taxes on Airbnb rentals, which currently number about 300 within city limits. That would be between one-tenth and one-sixth the revenues the city currently collects from its 13 hotels.

As a Jersey native, I would point out that there are other reasons to prefer a Jersey City stay to one in Manhattan itself. For instance, did you know that Ellis Island is actually (mostly) in Jersey City? And if views of the Manhattan skyline are what you’re looking for, Jersey City’s Liberty State Park can’t be beat.

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