Neighbor Islands poised to get bigger slice of hotel room tax pie

Neighbor Islands poised to get bigger slice of hotel room tax pie
(Image: Hawaii News Now/file)

HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - The House Finance Committee passed Senate Bill 648 on Thursday to increase the amount of Transient Accomodations Tax revenues given to Kauai, Maui and the Big Island.

The amended bill would give an additional $36 million to support projects in the neighbor islands.

The bill if passed, would increase Kauai's slice of the hotel room tax pie from $14.9 million to $24.3 million, Maui's revenues from $23.4 million to $38.3 million and Hawaii Island's revenues from $19.1 million to $31.2 million.

The TAT amount for Oahu would remain the same at $45.4 million per year.

During the 2017 Special legislative session, lawmakers voted to raise the TAT by 1 percent to address the growing budget needs in Oahu's rail project.

House leaders also discussed the possibility of increasing TAT revenues for the neighbor islands at the special session.

"During the special session last summer, our neighbor island Representatives were concerned about the need to increase the counties' share of the TAT," said House Speaker Scott Saiki in a news release. "This proposal will provide much needed financial support for the neighbor islands."

State Rep. Nadine Nakamura said that the increase in TAT shares for neighbor islands would help cover costs impacted by tourism like police, parks and other infrastructure.

"I want to thank all my colleagues for listening to the concerns raised by neighbor island representatives and making the TAT more equitable," Nakamura said in a news release.

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