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Campaign and Lobbyist Spending in Hawaii

Tuesday, December 05, 2023 1:34 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

MVRA Needs Your Attention

and Support!

Both the State Legislators and Local Council are convinced that our short-term rentals are the only solution to the fire victim housing issue. This may result in the amortization or phasing-out of legal rentals on Maui. 




Joining MVRA will ensure the organization can continue this work and fund a professional state lobbyist to combat harmful regulation. If we don’t all pitch in, we will continue to have our rights and income taken away at the whim of legislators and the hotel lobbyists that support them.

Earlier this year Civil Beat reported on the top Lobbyist expenditures and how much was spent by different entities. They remarked on Airbnb and Turo being in the top 30 along with Young Brothers and Hilton Vacations. Here is what we found when digging into the lobbyist and campaign contributions data deeper:


Hotel and resorts spent 16 times more than the vacation rental industry with $623K raised in campaign contributions during the same time frame.


Hotels were the largest spenders on lobbyists with $1.6 million over the last 5 years, 5% of total lobbyist funds. Unions spent $903K representing 3% overall, while construction and vacation rental platforms accounted for about $722K and $750K, and 2% each respectively.

We are being outspent politically on every level and now feeling the results of that.

The legal vacation rental industry is a large and legitimate industry in Hawaii, raising billions in revenue, property taxes and visitor spending, but individual ownership makes it a fractured industry, hard for legislators and county and state administrations to understand. It is easier for them to deal with big corporations, top down one size fits all legislation, management with big payrolls and unions. 

Source: Hawaii Tourism Authority, DBEDT


However, the state and counties derive a lot of funding and jobs from the legal vacation rental trade, and visitors and mid term renters including nurses and doctors depend on and relish the diverse options for accommodation. Owners of vacation rentals are local families. This is one of the only ways we give our local residents ways to participate directly in the hospitality industry. Other owners of vacation rentals are our return visitors, living part time in the islands. They are some of Hawaiiʻs most engaged visitors, supporting small businesses, caring for the environment, taking care of residents that work in the industry, and paying premium tax rates for the privilege to do so.

We need more cohesion in the industry to share and educate the legislators and increase the volume of our collective voices. We are working hard to protect your interest in the short-term rental industry. Please Join or Donate today at

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