HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -In his proposed budget for the city of Honolulu, mayor Caldwell proposed a one-dollar-per-thousand property tax on hotel and resort properties.
That would be about a million dollar tax increase for a billion dollar hotel – like the Hyatt Regency Waikiki.
The mayor argued that the industry now pays far less in property taxes than the city pays for services and infrastructure that directly support visitor areas.
One big example – the $145 million taxpayers will pitch in for a flood control project meant primarily to protect Waikiki.
That said why only the one-dollar increase? The mayor said he’s concerned about political push-back from the industry. But really what leverage does the industry have anymore?
It's long argued that the jobs it provides and the cash from tourists justify huge taxpayer investment – but these multi-national companies and investment funds are not here out of the goodness of their hearts. They are here to make money.
It’s time for our leaders to stop fearing the industry – and start making it pay its fair share.