With respect to Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s recent op-ed, we believe property taxes should not be raised on anyone — residential, businesses or hotels — without cutting spending first (“Increase tax on hotels, not residences,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, June 2). The mayor’s budget has risen by nearly $800 million in only seven years!
He is singling out hotels, but hotels had the largest property valuation increase over the last decade which resulted in a 141% increase in taxes paid to the city. The latest hotel tax increase contributed $82 million to pay for rail.
The taxes have increased so much the hotels would now cover many major improvements related to highways and streets, public safety, transportation, human services — and yet the city would still have money left over.
His proposal comes as the economy slows, unregulated vacation rentals wreak havoc in our neighborhoods and he completely dismisses the visitor industry’s myriad contributions that help communities. We recommend the city trim its spending before imposing a larger burden on Hawaii’s top industry.
CEO, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association
Glenn Vergara, general manager, Waikiki Resort Hotel
Michael Jokovich, area vice president Hawaii, Pacific NW, Hyatt Hotels Hawaii
Cheryl Williams, regional vice president, Highgate Hotels
Angela Nolan, general manager, Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club
Ben Rafter, CEO, OLS Hotels & Resorts
Brandon Kaya, general manager, Ambassador Hotel Waikiki
Charlie Parker, general manager, Four Seasons Resort at Ko Olina
Cyrus Oda, SVP, chief financial officer, Kyo-ya
Fred Orr, general manager, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
Jeff Wagoner, president & CEO, Outrigger Hospitality Group
Jerry Gibson, vice president, Turtle Bay Resort
Jim Paulon, general manager, Courtyard by Marriott, Waikiki
Joseph Yamaoka, hotel manager, ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach
Kisan Jo, president, Prince Resorts Hawai‘i
Kurt Kishaba, general manager, Pearl Hotel, Waikiki
Mark De Mello, general manager, Aston Waikiki Beach
Matt Grauso, general manager, ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach
Michael Czarcinski, general manager, Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Miho Espiritu, general manager, Park Shore Waikiki
Robin Graf, vice president of operations, Castle Resorts & Hotels
Stephen Hinck, general manager, Hilton Garden Inn, Waikiki Beach
Thomas Foti, general manager, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Tom Calame, general manager, Sheraton Waikiki
Tomo Kuriyama, general manager, The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
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