Hawaii lawmakers override Ige’s veto of tourism funding bill

Taken from AP News


July 6, 2021



Hawaii lawmakers Tuesday overrode Gov. David Ige’s veto of a bill that overhauls how the state funds the Hawaii Tourism Authority and allocates tourism tax revenue to the counties.


The bill would stop funding the tourism agency with money raised by the transient accommodations tax on hotel stays and other short-term rentals. Instead, lawmakers intend to pay for the agency with money from the general fund, though for the current fiscal year they appropriated federal coronavirus relief funds.


Further, instead of providing the state’s four major counties with a share of transient accommodations tax revenue, the legislation gives the counties the authority to levy their own surcharge to the tax. Currently, the state charges one uniform hotel tax rate across the islands.


The House voted 38 in favor of overriding, with eight against and four members excused. The Senate voted 17 in favor of overriding and eight against.


Sen. Bennette Misalucha, vice chair of the Senate’s Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism Committee, said special funds shouldn’t be protected for the benefit of one industry. She said the Legislature brought special funds like hotel tax revenue into the general fund to stop this practice.