HONOLULU – The Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association and more than 30 organizations are calling on Governor David Ige to veto a bill that would remove taxes on lodging from the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the counties.

The groups sent a letter to Ige on Tuesday asking him to veto House Bill 862. In fiscal 2019, lodging tax grossed $ 631 million for the state, of which HTA received $ 79 million.

Legislators also used the bill to remove the counties’ share of the $ 103 million temporary housing tax and give each county the right to increase their island’s TAT ​​by 3 percentage points.

Ige is still reviewing bills and has until June 21st to publish his list of vetoed intentions.

“It is clear that the world of work and business is very concerned about this bill,” said Mufi Hannemann, President and CEO of HLTA. “We know the governor has expressed concern about this bill and that he has a difficult task ahead of him. Hopefully, if there are concerns that a veto will not be universally supported, this letter will allay that. “

Hannemann said the letter was also signed by national organizations with local ties such as Airlines for America and the American Resort Development Association.

The Waikiki Neighborhood Board also passed a resolution on Tuesday to urge Ige to veto the measure. Waikiki chairman Bob Finley said the board sees HB 862 as a blow to the visitor industry and all Waikiki residents who work there.

“If we add 30% to the TAT, we get the highest property taxes in the nation and are not competitive,” Finley said. “We really believed this was a bad idea. There are still 60,000 workers in the bank, and many of them are people we know. Our people blew up all their money. Your savings are gone. Most support programs have failed. “

Finley said the board also objected to the fact that the state legislature created the bill through gut-and-replace, which did not allow for public input.

“Legislators received this $ 1.6 billion (in federal support) that was used to pay the bills. Why do we have to rob this particular pot? “Said Finley. “I don’t think any of the people who made that decision ever ran a hotel, served tourists cocktails, or cleaned toilets.”