Tourists planning a trip to the Hawaiian Island Maui should be ready to pay a new tourism tax to help offset the effects of COVID-19 travel restrictions that have devastated the local economy.
According to The Associated Press, Hawaii officials overruled a veto by Hawaii Governor David Ige that would revise the state funding of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and the allocation of tourism tax revenue to each county.
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Now that the law has been passed despite the opposition, the districts of the island chain are allowed to levy a tax of three percent on visitors who stay in hotels and other short-term renters. Previously, local officials collected a 10 percent hotel tax and distributed a share to each district.
Maui County council chair Alice Lee said the tax would help the area triple revenue as the island sees an influx of tourists as travel restrictions continue to be lifted and more people are vaccinated.
“That will help a lot,” Lee told The AP. “Instead of $ 23 million, we’ll probably get $ 50 to $ 70 million.”
How the government will finance the HTA without the funds raised by the temporary accommodation tax, the legislature announced that it would pay the agency with money from the general fund in the future. In 2021, the government took advantage of state coronavirus remedies.
State Representative Sylvia Luke said the old law had diverted funds to the most populated areas, but the new rules provide that each county will receive funds based on how many visitors they welcome, which will benefit Maui the most.