David Ige, Hawaiian Governor gave his support when it came to increasing the tax for transient accommodations by 1%, while keeping the county’s’ portion of the hotel room taxes at $93 million. Ige recently stated he did not support a 2.75% in this tax or hotel room tax, which had been brought up by the Senate and the House money committee this past April, just prior to the ending of the year’s lawmaking sittings.
The Hawaiian governor stated that a 2.75% increase to 12% from 9.25%, which would garner another $1.3 billion over the next decade, would offer too large of a burden on the visitor sector. Rather, Ige stated that one percent would be reasonable, moreover if it was for a certain time period, and would go to assisting the transit project funding.
This, coming on the day lawmakers talked about a special session to regarding rail funding, held from August 28th to September 1st.
Scott Saiki, House Speaker and Ronald Kouchi, Senate President offered assurance to the Federal Transit Administration that they plan to organize a session dedicated to offer resolution around the crisis regarding funding for the rail. This cost has increased approximately $10 billion, from just over $5.2 billion, from a few years back.
Still, Travelweek reported that Hawaii’s governor is resilient and stated that something has to be done to ensure the rail moves forward. He went on to note that it is clear that added funds are required, and portions from the transient accommodations tax for a time period is something he’s open to think about.
Ige was asked what he thinks would be an adequate distribution of the hotel room tax fund across Hawaii’s four major counties, where their portion fell to $93 million from $103 million in the year, and he stated the lower amount would be the fairest. Officials from counties have been strong in their viewpoint that they should have a higher portion of this tax revenue.
Mike White, Maui County Council Chairman, has fought from 2007-2015 that counties sustained over $179 million in added expenses for fire and police services, as well as parks. Still, during that time, counties have gained only and addition $2.2 million when it came to the hotel room tax, while the state has gathered an enhanced share of over $196 million.