Thank you to everyone who mustered testimony for this last minute item that came up at the State Legislature threatening property rights.
There were issues with the state website this morning and I know folks were struggling through getting testimony in.
However, hundreds of written testimony did come in, much of it in opposition.
Chair Nakamura deferred the measure, stating that she spoke to Kaʻāina Hull, Director of Planning for County of Kauai about the cooperation and agreement that they have worked on with AirBnB and Expedia, and how effective that has been in eliminating illegal short term operations. Nakamura also said she hopes that every county will also go into these agreements. She said the bottom line is to open up housing for local people.
To watch the hearing please go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhTqCnBGMIQ
To read testimony: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/Session2021/Testimony/HB76_TESTIMONY_HSG_02-04-21_.PDF
It was disappointing to see Maui County support of this measure.
Dear Hawaii State Representatives,
My sincere apologies for sending this message to you directly, but the Hawaii State Gov. website is apparently having problems generating the "confirmation letters" needed for citizens to register to submit written testimony through normal channels.
At any rate, thank you for the opportunity to speak out in opposition to Bill HB 76.
In my opinion, the Bill is neither necessary nor useful at this time. As I understand it and speaking from my experience on Maui, short-term vacation rentals are hugely beneficial to the State. On Maui the taxes generated by short-term vacation rentals are one of the principal sources of revenue for Maui County, generating $114 Million for FY2020 (!) And this was even while being mandated closed by the State for much of the year (!)
Short-term vacation rentals support a host of small businesses ranging from restaurants and shops to maintenance and landscaping. Short-term vacation rental guests spent an estimated $4.4 billion dollars on Maui in 2019, representing nearly a quarter of all visitor spending in the state!
Short-term vacation rentals also support the State with TAT taxes. In 2019 Maui county generated $207,773,430 in TAT revenue for the state, about 33% of the overall Transient Accommodations Tax collected in that year. Maui has more legal vacation rentals (11768) on the island then hotel rooms (7372) according to Real Property Tax data.
Short-term vacation rentals on Maui are also the largest single source of revenue for the Maui Affordable Housing Fund. They have generated $5.89 million for the fund since 2018 (!)
Needless to say, then, doing anything to curtail short-term vacation rentals will only damage the local economy and inadvertently cripple county government financially.
Why, then, would the state legislature consider a Bill that would undermine short-term vacation rental?! Would this not be to commit fiscal suicide?
STRH permit holders on Maui have done their due diligence, often at considerable expense, to operate responsibly and within the law. Does not good governance require the State and County governments uphold their side of this social contract?
Most permitted dwellings are owned by people who live in their properties for part of each year. They are thus never going to become available either for permanent resident housing or for long term rental.
For all of these reasons I urge you to vote no on HB76.
Thank you for your consideration.
For more information on HB76 check here: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=76&year=2021
We will be watching for further updates on this proposed bill.