For the entire 2023 Position Statements listing CLICK HERE
Over the years, the Maui County water department has been raising rates to pay for “repair and maintenance” and to “find and develop new water sources.” Thus far, the infrastructure has failed to keep pace with development. It is time to be proactive and use money provided by the President’s infrastructure bill or the Maui County Transient Accommodations Tax (MCTAT). West Maui is particularly vulnerable to low rainfall and recently experienced low transmission issues even after a significant rain event. The Visitor industry provides $230 million or 54% of total Real Property Tax (RPT) and is estimated to bring in $60 million in MCAT. It is time to use those funds for additional water infrastructure and transmission.
County Real Property taxes continue to increase yearly, even though increased property value assessments generate a substantial increase in tax revenues. In 2021 The County began charging an additional 3% Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT) on all room nights. This situation is not sustainable, and MHLA will continue to lobby for property tax relief on the county level. On the state level, we oppose any bills aimed at raising taxes or fees on the industry, especially when attempting to reemerge from the pandemic. We will advocate for existing assessed fees to have a nexus and fund areas such as infrastructure, parks, destination management efforts, and enforcement of illegal vacation rentals.
There is an opportunity to continue efforts to manage tourism better by working together with the government, private industry, and community members. Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP) has outlined action items that will need our collective efforts and continued funding, funding that can be designated from State and County Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT). By working together, we can create a healthy destination that benefits the residents and promotes cultural respect and environmental responsibility. MHLA is committed to participating and furthering all efforts of the Maui Nui DMAP.
Approximately 40% of Maui County’s workforce is directly employed by the Visitor Industry. We are deeply concerned about the lack of adequate housing and affordable rentals for our workers and consider it an immediate priority. The lack of housing has contributed significantly to our inability to hire and retain staff. We support further legislation that will streamline and support developers in creating more affordable housing and rentals for our workforce.