State Yanks Hotel Tax? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State Yanks Hotel Tax?

HONOLULU-WAILUKU (KHNL) - Desperate times mean desperate measures. But one measure that moved through the state house and is now working through the senate may leave the counties feeling desperate.

100 Million dollars that is the amount of money the state could use to balance the budget if it diverts the TAT tax or "Hotel Tax" into the state's general fund.

Honolulu Mayor says "That's about 43 million dollars that we stand to loose if they are going to take back what the counties have gotten especially the city and county of Honolulu as a result of the hotel room tax."

The bill which moved out of the State House and is now looking like it could get Senate approval has island mayors, like Mufi Hannemann feeling taxed.

"Let me be clear, you can do all the marketing in the world but if people come to paradise and they don't feel safe and secure or if they don't feel like our beaches are clean our parks are clean they won't come here, so this is why I am concerned."

Maui Mayor Charmaine Taveres says that she understands the challenges the state faces but the county of Maui is also dealing with its own budget crisis.

"The first programs we will cut will be the ones that are state jurisdictional programs, but what that means is that many people on Maui work for those programs, so they'll be cut from jobs, they'll be laid off from jobs."

Hannemann voices the same concern.

"That's 43 million dollars, I just got through balancing our budget and that did not take into account the 43 million we would lose."

If the bill becomes law the tax would be diverted from the counties to the state's general fund for six years.

The governor has not said whether she would veto the bill if it reaches her desk. 

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