This week I’d like to congratulate Stephanie Iona of Dow Agrosciences for being in the lead of our membership drive challenge with 2 referrals since February! I announced this initiative at our October GMM on Kauai as a means to spur our membership drive. Remember, if you refer 5 new HLTA members, you will be entered in a drawing to win a round-trip flight for two on any Alaska Airlines destination and a 3-night stay at a Marriott property. The member who recruits the most members will win a round-trip flight for two on any Island Air destination and a 2-night stay at an Aqua-Aston Property.
Mahalo to the members who have successfully referred one new member each:
The ending of April marks the “make it or break it” mile in the Hawaii state legislative session as bills are now going through conference committees. Most of our priority bills are still in their conference committees where deliberations are being made by both chambers in coming up with compromise language.
I would however like to report that late last week Senate Bills 686 and 683 were recommitted by the House in conference, thereby killing the measures for this session. These two bills addressed tacking a surcharge to residential investment properties as well as visitor accommodations for the purpose of funding public education. As much as we support public education given all that the industry does individually and collectively for the youth of our state, this was one of our association's priority measures as we are highly opposed to bills that further add tax levies on the visitor industry. As a recap, the proposed senate bills would have called for a constitutional amendment that would established a $3.00 a night surcharge on hotel rooms under $150, and a $5 a night surcharge on accommodations that are over $150. This is a very big victory for our industry but as this is the first session in the legislative biennium the bill will automatically carry over to the next session where we must stay vigilant shall it once again surface.
On the Honolulu City Council front we continue to push to oppose the mayor's proposed 50-cent (per $1,000) increase in the hotel and resort real property tax classification. Resolution 17-70 which addresses this increase is being heard on Wednesday April 26th by the City Council for public reading. If you need help in submitting testimony in opposition to this measure, please feel free to contact our Director of Government & Community Affairs, Jared Higashi, at email@example.com or at 923-0407.
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