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Kauai seeks larger share of hotel tax

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:12 p.m. HST, Oct 24, 2013


This story has been corrected. See below.


Kauai County officials will ask the state for a bigger slice of Hawaii's hotel room tax.

Visitor-related expenses cost the county $44.2 million in fiscal year 2012, including nearly $25 million in operation expenses such as police and fire calls, said County Council legislative assistant Ashley Bunda.

Kauai County receives $13.7 million in hotel tax money and would like to see that doubled to $27.4 million, the Garden Island newspaper reported.

The state Transient Accommodation Tax is a 9.25 percent surcharge on hotel rooms. State lawmakers since 2010 have capped the hotel tax share for all counties at $93 million. Kauai County's share was 14.5 percent.

The projected amount collected by the hotel tax this year is $352 million, a $98 million increase from the 2011 tax collection, Kauai County Council Chairman Jay Furfaro said two weeks ago. If the state had not capped the counties' share, Kauai's share would have grown to $16.3 million, Furfaro said.

A request for additional money may be difficult to defend in the 2014 Legislature, Furfaro said. However, operational costs related to the visitor industry are $10 million above what the county receives, and that does not include capital projects, he said.

Land and ocean rescues are among expenses tied to tourism. The Kauai Fire Department says it spent $5.4 million because of visitors, while the Kauai Police Department said it spent $6.3 million serving tourists.

Kauai tourism officials say the industry has rebounded from the nation's economic problems. Since 2009, visitor arrivals have grown annually at a rate of 5 percent while visitors spending has surged 10 percent, according to the county. During fiscal year 2012, Kauai hosted an average of 21,717 visitors each day. The island's population was 68,434.



The Kauai County Council discussed, but did not approve, a proposal to ask the state to double the amount of Transient Accommodations Tax money that goes to the counties.

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Kauai County seeks higher share of hotel tax

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localguy wrote:
Kauai County officials willfully failed to explain how the visitor-related expenses cost the county $44.2 million in fiscal year 2012 were independently verified. We all know you can never, ever, trust a bureaucrat giving out financial figures. Then compare this cost to how much tourists spent overall. I'm willing to bet the $44.2 million is tens of millions over the true cost. Kauai bureaucrats just want more money to fund their pet projects. Just another bureaucratic money grab. Just another day in the Nei.
on October 22,2013 | 06:58AM
AhiPoke wrote:
The real issue is, what does the island of Kauai generate in Transient Accommodation Taxes each year. IF, they are not receiving at least that amount back from the state, then I'd say they have a valid arguement. IF however, they are already receiving more back than they generate, then this is an attempt to receive an unfair amount relative to evry other county. My guess is that this TAT tax is similar to the state's GET tax, where neighbor island receive back significantly more than they contribute. But I could be wrong.
on October 22,2013 | 10:23AM
johndoe wrote:
Kauai says no to every economic growth plan (super ferry, farming, etc.). They're anti-business and don't want to find ways to generate their own revenue yet want more subsidy?
on October 22,2013 | 11:48AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Yeah, sure, we'll send that money over on the next Superferry.
on October 22,2013 | 03:36PM