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Blackburried, Thanks, yes, that is the article. I don't know how to post links. I always get booted off.
Everyone can help here. Take that link and send an email to everyone you know who may be interested.
AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, state your opinion about these measures or the need to support or oppose them. The article only comes to life when YOU put your opinon on the Civilbeat message board. If your opinion is "this does not matter to me" then state that. All comments welcomed and needed if you ever want to see the end of this letter writing marathon!
I just had a lovely chat with personnel in Senator Slom’s office. I will try and see him or at least talk with him on the phone. According to Slons’, office, we MUST so embarrass the legislators in front of their constituents that they are afraid of the negative press. So, a massive press campaign is needed ASAP. Apparently, this bill will go forward and be signed by the rubber stamping governor unless everyone involved feels the heat.
The Attorney General is the one who suggested the bill contain the verbiage “off-island resident” in an attempt to negate the constitutional issue of the commerce clause. Any lawyers out there want to comment? If they can claim some Hawaii residents are also affected the same was non- resident owners, does the issue go away?
KEEP THE HEAT ON
Crazy Knits, Have you logged on to see the article on Civilbeat? Everyone needs to and post their comment. And then, they need to get more people to visit the site and do the same. This is what Sen Slom is meaning. Thank you. Go into your email and find everyone you know who should and can help read the message and provide an opinion. Doesn't matter what their opinion is. What matters is that our voices need to be heard. Thank you!
THE FORCES BEHIND THESE BILLS:
The Civil Beat article trumps much of what I have been preparing to post, but I have been in the Hawaii Travel Industry for over 20 years and spent a great deal of time following these issues. I will share some of my observations but if I have made any errors please let me know so we can keep our opposition efforts focused and on track.
1) The principle private groups behind these bills are the The Hawai`i Hotel & Lodging Association and/or other hotel industry lobbying groups, large condominium operators (such as Aston, Outrigger, etc) and some mid-size property management firms such as Whaler Reality, etc. If you go to the original bill and click on the testimony links, you can see who testified in support of these measures - http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2089&year=2012
2) Since the dawn of online vacation rentals, the Hotel Association has lead the charge against private vacation rentals. They view private rentals as a threat to their revenue stream and were one of the driving forces behind Maui County’s crackdown on illegal vacation rentals in the late 90's. They have not found a way to impede legal owner-operated vacation rentals in hotel zones, until now
3) The author’s of this legislation are named in the bills and we should able use public records to obtain their campaign contribution details. If we follow the money we may be able to find out how the supporters were able to get so many bills authored in such a short period of time. We need to expose which legislators are pushing these bills and what their true motivations may be.
4) As a previous poster has noted, the Department of Taxation is broken
They do not have to resources or ability to track GE and TA taxes or know who is (or who is not) in compliance.
These bills are a way of “outsourcing” that task. Pushing for professional local management is their “stab in the dark” at passing the burden of tax collection onto the property managers, and the cost onto owners.
While logic suggests that it would be easier, less costly, and less economically damaging to set up a simple registration and tracking system for law abiding owner-managers, the report above suggests the Tax Department may be incapable of implementing this type of system. Sadly, there is no data to suggest that professional management firms have a higher rate of tax compliance than owner-managers and there are many stories of fraud and corruption in the industry. They will simply be relying on the property managers to act in good faith.
I have not been able to verify this…so someone please comment….but I was told that property managers with more than 10 units do not have to report tax by unit number, they simply state total gross income per month
(without prescribing a specific income to a specific property number). If this is correct the potential for error and fraud must be immense.
5) There is still a significant problem with illegal vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods that are not zoned for vacation rentals. This problem has been exasperated by the real estate collapse. Many residential homes in foreclosure (or behind on payments) are illegally rented to vacationers as a stop-gap measure to produce income. As you can imagine the neighbors are very unhappy. The homes are falling into disrepair and being illegally rented to tourists, disturbing their neighborhood, and violating zoning laws. These citizens are rightfully angry and want something done. They will support any measure that appears to address this issue.
The problem is that these bills lump illegal vacation rentals in the same group as law abiding, tax paying owners of condos in hotel zones.
It is our job to let the Hawaiian people know we support their fight against illegal rentals, but the that current set of bills will have severe negative economic consequences on the State’s Tourism and Real Estate market.
6) The majority of Hawaii’s citizens are not aware of these bills and the local media is not (or barely) covering them. While the average Hawaiian may not know about these bills, they have historically supported any legislation that taxes “rich off-island owners” or visitors. (Witness the sharp rise in TA tax rates they continue to be approved)
Once again, we need to let the Hawaii’s people know that these bills threaten their immediate economic future.
7) Municipal Governments across the country are broke and scrambling to find additional revenue streams. The easiest target is anyone NOT in their voting constituency. (i.e. off-island owners!) Measures to raise local bed tax or tourist tax are seldom opposed by the local populace.
8) Many realtors DO NOT support these bills. While the H.A.R supported the registration of Tax ID numbers (HB2078 in it’s original form) many do not support forced local management. I was told that Robert Lightbourn, the president of the Maui Board of Realtors, took a poll of his members and they voted to oppose SB2089. Most realtors (at least on Maui) are not interested in obtaining the bonding and insurance required to manage rental properties, and they consider it a “high effort – low reward” enterprise. (I can supply and e-mail from local realtor on this subject)
Note that the bills states "condominium hotels will have to be managed by a condominium hotel operator, pursuant to section 467-30. This imposes registration, bonding and insurance requirements well above and beyond a standard RE license - http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/histatutes/2/25/467/467-30
Many realtors recognize that forcing all TVR’s through local property managers will increase operating expenses, lower real estate values and possibly trigger a new waive of foreclosures. The vast majority of Realtors make their living off of sales commissions, not management fees, and recognize that a flood of short sales and foreclosures will damage the market.
While some Realtors may support these measures, it is critical for us to capture the support of those that do not. Realtors are a relatively strong and organized lobbying force in Hawaii.
We must all do everything in our power to get the word out and fight these measures while they are still in the legislative stage.
If they do pass we have options, but more on that later.
Transient Vacation rentals have been outlawed in NYC recently. For the record, several attempts were made by property owners to recover damages and NONE were granted.
I represent a small Association of B&B's in NYC who have become unintended targets of this new sweeping law.
We hope to get grandfathered in, so please write comment on our FB page if you can.
Our HUGE city has no interest in regulating vactaion rentals at all.....they just outlawed them. period.
Our memebers ( STAY-NYC) are all tax compliant small businesse all living onsite or closeby. I have signed your petition and spread the word. We are very much behind the 8 ball, many of the little B&B's have closed already. We hope that most of you reading this will take a moment and support us with your " likes" and signatures.... Thanks!
Hello from NY where we are fighting a MORE uphill battle as our places have already been totally outlawed.
I too congratulate all of you who are doing a wonderful job of getting the word out. In New York City we tried hard to stop the Sate Law ch225 from being signed into law by ex Gov David Paterson, but we were unsuccessful.
After that it was hard to re-group and hard to organize. it becomes a FULL TIME job. It is similar in that this is a Stae Law, but it only applies to the CITY of NY.
I hate to say this, but you need to use scare tactics to get all owners involved. This is scary, and in NYC even AFTER the law was passed I cannot tell you how many businesses I contacted that were unfazed and somehow twisted their thinking to tell me they were not affected! They just kept on doing business as if nothing had happened!
You must all join that Association and pay to get lobbying help and a PR firm. It is very hard to influence the powers that be without those 2 things. Also this takes lots of time ( if you need to overturn or amend) might take over a year... so tell everyone to have patience... you are in it for the long haul. We will keep you in our thoughts.
BTW the petition is important as well. We have one on our site... please sign and post for your friends to do the same... we would love some comments as well on our FB page! Thanks www.staynyc.org
I just received a suggestion that we contact the Institute for Justice, a
non-profit legal organization that takes up causes such as ours. I googled
it and it looks promising.
I would ask if the bait-and-switch tactic is ethical where the legislators can simply replace the entire text of Bill HB2078 "word for word" from a shelved Bill SB2089 (where a lot of people spent countless hours writing their testimonies in opposition) and continue business-as-usual.
This is not right...
It's not right, it's not fair, it's unethical, possibly uncostituational, and certainly bad for the Hawaiian economy.
.....but none of tha is going to stop bill from getting signed into law.
It's all about public perception.
The special interest groups are well funded and organized, the State is desperate for revenue, and the Legislators can take the hypocritical stance of having improved tax revune and improved the visitor expereince to Hawaii. (even if neither none of these things ever coming true) There is no accountibility in politics today, only public percetption)
We need to turn up the volume on this fight in a big way. Unless we can raise awareness and change perceptions quickly (with a front page news story, TV coverage or a series of full page adds in the local papers) this is going to get signed into law and 95% of the Hawaiian public isn't even going to know or care.
If it passes today, it still has to be reconciled with the House. With the right appointees to the conference committee, it could still die. That is our next tack of attack.
Sent from my iPhone
In order to get the locals involved, they need to be informed, which is why it is important to post your opinion on these sites:
Also, please read this:
SB 2947 will be heard by the House FIN Committe on Monday April 2
It requires ID # on web sites and for non residents to provide the local contact. I find the wording confusing. Everyone should read it themselves to determine whether this is something to be concerend about.
Anything that either specifies 'non resident' or implies it, is illegal. It is against Hawaiian law, the constitution and NAFTA. Whether it affects our business postively or negatively, is almost irrelevent, because once you open that gate and allow discrimination against 'non resident' owners, the floods will begin. Any new laws for vacation rental owners, must apply for resident and non resident.