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Hawaii bucking trend with likely veto of Airbnb tax bill

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Airbnb says the company is collecting taxes in nearly 200 jurisdictions around the world and dozens more are clamoring to do the same.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige is bucking a trend by saying he intends to veto a bill that would allow online lodging services like Airbnb to collect taxes.

Airbnb says the company is collecting taxes in nearly 200 jurisdictions around the world and dozens more are clamoring to do the same.

Ige says he was concerned that the bill would facilitate illegal rentals. He also says the state does need additional vacation rentals to support its tourism industry, but he would rather have rental units available to residents than visitors during the state’s affordable housing crisis.

Airbnb executive Chris Lehane says the company just wants to pay their fair share of taxes. He says he can’t understand why the state would walk away from an estimated $15 million.

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  • “He says he can’t understand why the state would walk away from an estimated $15 million.” Is he talking about the total TAT/GET being paid now by Airbnb vacation rentals in Hawaii, or the amount that is going uncollected. Either way the state Dept Taxation should subpoena Airbnb records and determine who is not paying taxes as legally required.

    • This was just a thinly veiled attempt by Airbnb to legitimize their business of violating zoning rules throughout the country. San Francisco, ironically enough, is taking similar actions against airbnb. The funny thing about the “sharing” and “gig” economy that is operating under the guise of being “Tech” -is that they are really not “tech” companies at all. They are simply mass-scofflaw enablers. These companies exist (airbnb, uber, etc… ) solely by exploiting gaps in regulations that were designed originally to protect consumers and neighborhoods.

  • France is passing a law that would require Air B and B to sed annual statements to landlords and government to ensure that taxes are paid. Why would Hawaii give tacit approval to a black market in untaxed vacation rentals?

  • “Airbnb says the company is collecting taxes in nearly 200 jurisdictions around the world and dozens more are clamoring to do the same.” The U.S. Census Bureau today released preliminary counts of local governments as the first component of the 2012 Census of Governments. In 2012, 89,004 local governments existed in the United States, down from 89,476 in the last census of governments conducted in 2007. Local governments included 3,031 counties (down from 3,033 in 2007), 19,522 municipalities (up from 19,492 in 2007), 16,364 townships (down from 16,519 in 2007), 37,203 special districts (down from 37,381 in 2007) and 12,884 independent school districts (down from 13,051 in 2007). The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) is the largest organization of local and regional governments in Europe. Its members are 55 national associations of towns, municipalities and regions from 41 countries that are part of the Council of Europe. Together these associations represent about 150,000 local and regional authorities.

  • New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Chicago are all saying No to Airbnb for their support of “illegal” vacation rentals. Governor Ige is right to do the same. Having homes for our residents is more important then having hotel rooms in residential neighborhoods!

  • I think it’s too late for the State. They could have cracked down in illegal rentals when it was still a manageable problem, but they didn’t. They could have cracked down on mainland and Micronesian transplants (by having a waiting period before getting welfare or medicaid, providing relocation assistance, and in other ways), but they didn’t. They could have cracked down on luxury towers that cater primarily to foreign millionaires, but they didn’t. So in the end, Hawaii will have only rich foreigners living in ocean-front condos, and poor people scrubbing toilets and living in poverty in their ghettos. The middle class will be gone, having left for more sensible places. And to think I saw the downfall of an island paradise in my own lifetime. Very sad.

  • Sure Airbnb is one of many ways to market short term stays, which have upset many of our neighbors. But this is a measure that went through a rigorous legislative process. I for one am curious to hear more about why the legislature saw fit to pass this particular solution. Perhaps this is a short term solution to a more tangled problem. Seems like we need data on what homes are being illegally rented before we thumb our nose to $15 million and the collective wisdom of our legislature.

    • “The collective wisdom of our legislature” gave us the unprofitable Hawaii Convention Center, the rusting Aloha Stadium, the defunct health exchange, the money loosing cancer center, and a government whose liabilities increasingly exceed their assets. And that is just the short list.

    • The Bill barely passed through the legislature and was one of the most controversial bills of the session. At the very last minute, Airbnb paid lobbyist got the leadership committee to change the bill and allow Airbnb to hide the illegal operators from the public and County inspectors. Many of the legislatures were not even aware of the changes. Airbnb does not care about collecting taxes. That was a Trojan horse. What they really wanted was to include language in the bill that would hide the illegal rentals and keep their illicit profits flowing in! Most municipalities are learning that Airbnb are not good corporate citizens and not good for their residential communities.

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