The 2018 Hawaii legislative session

What’s happening right now: bills have changed chambers

Earlier in this year’s legislative session, the Senate introduced bill SB 2963 in order to allow platforms to collect and remit taxes for the state. However, this bill also contained legally questionable language and imposed harsh fines and enforcement against violators, without consideration of the adverse economic impact. The bill passed the Senate and was considered by the House; however, the House recognized the flaws in the bill and it did not advance.

Unhappy with the House’s decision, the Senate chose to revive their bill (SB 2963) by using a process called “gut and replace.” In this case, they removed the contents of an active, unrelated bill, HB 2650, and replaced it with language from SB2963. Now, this “new” bill, HB 2650, will be heard by the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

What is HB 2605 SD 1: This bill seeks to allow platform to collect and remit taxes for the state but in doing so, would impose harsh punishments and enforcement without consideration of the adverse economic consequences.

How can you have an impact: submit testimony

SUBMIT TESTIMONY

How to submit testimony:

  1. Open the Hawaii State Legislature’s website in a new tab. If you do not already have an account, you will need to create one before you are able to submit testimony.
  2. Once you have signed in, click “submit testimony
  3. On the lefthand side, enter in “HB2605” (make sure that there is no space)
  4. Select your position on HB 2605. Airbnb is “opposing this measure”
  5. Let the Committee know you will not be testifying in person and that you are testifying as an individual citizen.
  6. Attach a file or write your testimony in the box and click Submit.

Information to include in your testimony:

  • Address the Chair and Committee — for this hearing you would include Chair Senator Dela Cruz, Vice Chair Senator Keith-Agaran, and the Ways and Means Committee
  • Introduce yourself — make sure to mention the district in which you live and add in some personal details
  • State the measure you are testifying for and your position on the bill — testifying in opposition to “HB 2605, SD1”
  • Tell the Chair of the Committee why you’re writing — to ask the Committee not to harm Hawaii’s economy and the alternative accommodations sector of the tourism industry as they seek to secure taxes
  • Talk about why you support home sharing Need some thought starters? Here are some talking points to get you started:
    • Alternative accommodations help support Hawaii’s visitor industry and are crucial to the health of the state’s economy
    • They generate more than $5.1 billion in economic impact and are responsible for more than 34,000 jobs
    • Home sharing also allows local residents to generate extra revenue to help deal with Hawaii’s high cost of living
  • Thank the Chair and Committee for their time
  • That’s it!