Mayor and Council Chair seek to retain Maui County’s hotel-room tax revenue
Mayor Arakawa and Chair Baisa lobby State legislators tomorrow, Council resolution considered next Friday
WAILUKU, Maui, Hawaii – Maui County Mayor Alan M. Arakawa and Council Chair Gladys C. Baisa will join other elected officials from all four counties at the State Capitol tomorrow to urge legislators not to raid the counties’ share of hotel-room-tax revenues, Chair Baisa announced today.
The hotel-room tax, formally known as the transient accommodations tax (or TAT), generates revenue that traditionally has been partially remitted to the counties on a proportional basis, in recognition of county services supporting the visitor industry. The legislature is considering ending or reducing the reimbursement.
Chair Baisa noted the Council will consider a resolution introduced by Councilmember G. Riki Hokama at next Friday’s Council meeting entitled “Urging the Governor and the Hawaii State Legislature to Oppose All Legislation to Repeal the Transient Accommodations Tax Distribution to the Counties.”
The resolution states that “repealing the distribution of TAT revenue to the counties will unduly shift the responsibility to maintain infrastructure, parks, and public health and safety costs to the residents of the county, primarily to real property tax payers who generate the county’s primary source of revenue.” In addition, “the detrimental effect the repeal of the TAT distribution to the counties will have on our parks, roads, public safety, and local residents mandates the opposition to any legislation to repeal the TAT,” according to the resolution.
“More than two decades ago, the legislature wisely decided to return a portion of hotel-room revenues to the counties because the growth of the visitor industry meant greater demands on county services, such as providing, maintaining and upgrading police and fire protection, parks, beaches, water, roads and sewage systems,” Mayor Arakawa said. “Any reduction in the counties’ share of TAT revenues would mean that services would be reduced or facilities will deteriorate.”
“There is a clear correlation between the visitors’ impact on county infrastructure and the use of visitor-generated TAT revenue by the counties to cover increased infrastructure and public safety costs,” Chair Baisa said. “As Maui County continues to see a rise in visitor counts, I am concerned that any reduction to the current distribution of TAT could hinder the County’s ability to fully participate in any economic recovery experienced by the State.”
Mayor Arakawa added: “As Mayor of Maui County, I am honored to be united with the mayors of Hawaii, Honolulu and Kauai counties to strongly oppose any effort to reduce the counties’ proportionate share of TAT.”
Chair Baisa said the County’s lobbying efforts are being coordinated by former Council Chair Danny A. Mateo, now an Executive Assistant to Mayor Arakawa.