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354538 Views 1,450 Replies Latest reply: Jan 13, 2014 6:49 PM by grace300 RSS Go to original post 1 ... 77 78 79 80 81 ... 97 Previous Next
  • New Member 14 posts since
    Apr 2, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,170. Apr 12, 2012 12:26 PM (in response to kbr402)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Yes, not sure if I should have taken a deep breath first.  Here's what I just posted. "Your misrepresentation of Canadian testimony on HB2078 is offensive to all Canadians. Maui’s Next Generation of Realtors needs to learn to read original sources carefully and not rely on secondhand rumors. Nowhere in any of the Canadian testimony on HB2078 or any of the other similar bills did anyone ever object to the requirement to pay TAT. Nor was any such objection raised in the editorial on the NAFTA subject in the Vancouver Sun. The objection rather was to the specific discriminatory clauses in these bills that put Canadians and other off-islanders at a disadvantage and strip them of their rights to manage their properties in ways that are not applied to on-islanders."

  • Contributor 175 posts since
    Feb 22, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,171. Apr 12, 2012 9:31 AM (in response to islandadventures)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    islandadventures wrote:

    ...

    For those that don't already know RBOAA have retained an attorney in Hawaii (DAMON KEY LEONG KUPCHAK HASTERT) and have drafted a 6 page Memorandum re: Legal Challenges to Hawaii HB No. 2078 and SB No. 2947...

    Do these folks have any background of fighting and winning battles against legislation?  In the end, legal battles are a battle of wits, and often don't  come down to who's right or wrong, but who argues their case best.

    islandadventures wrote:

    ...

    We need this type of information in the hands of the Attorney General and Governors office ASAP....

    Note that the AG already had them amend the bill to change out-of-state to off-island to try to circumvent restraint of trade and interstate commerce/NAFTA issues.  I think the AG thinks they can prevail with that wording. 

     

    Our hope here is that a judge will see this as a thinly veiled attempt to generate revenue on the backs of non-voting owners by unnecessarily requiring licensed agents or caretakers to have the unique capability to fulfill the role of "local emergency contact", in order to to remove our right to manage our own property.

  • californiaamy Contributor 36 posts since
    Feb 21, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,172. Apr 12, 2012 9:34 AM (in response to off-islander)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Wow, that is full of conflicting ideas.

     

    "One major element of the bill now seems to be creating a tax information  sharing program  between the state Department of Taxation and the  Counties and one purpose of that program is to give the counties  information about who is paying TAT in order to allow the counties to  crack down on illegal vacation rentals."

    How does the bill do that? The HOAs have to provide the name of the "agent' to the County, and the County has to provide it to the DOT. In that way, does it give the DOT the ability to cross check if TA taxes are being paid? They've GOT to have a better way to

     

    " The State Taxation Department  had previously balked at such a proposal." I haven't seen evidence of that. Previously the DOT has been limited by privacy information acts.

     

    "Because the House and Senate versions of this measure are radically  different,  HB 2078 will now go to conference committee. The House has  been relatively hostile to the Senate’s efforts on this front to date  and could still completely block this measure as well." There have been more House bills than Senate bills and they've been deferred at the Finance Committee who saw the insanity of the bills as they were formatted at that time.

     

    "The property managers who originated this discussion are  swearing to fight on."  Aaahhhh, so finally, we have admission that property managers created these.

     

    "The HAR Government Affairs Committee is  considering how to approach the major issues raised by this debate in  the off-session, with the goal of coming up with proposals that can  address its consumer protection and tax compliance components. One  thought is that an education effort aimed at communicating with the  vacation rental owners, explaining what their tax duties are and why it  is important to have a competent on-island representative, may be  helpful." They keep combining the consumer protection issue (making sure that tenants have an on-island contact) with the fact that non-residents don't pay their taxes. No one has proven that non-residents don't pay their taxes and I still assert that on-island residents have much more opportunity to take a cash transaction and hide the transaction. Most of the non-compliant TVRs are because they are not ZONED for transient vacation rentals, and are breaking the law that way.

  • Contributor 175 posts since
    Feb 22, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,173. Apr 12, 2012 12:16 PM (in response to blackburied)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    blackburied wrote:

    islandadventures wrote:

    ...

    For those that don't already know RBOAA have retained an attorney in Hawaii (DAMON KEY LEONG KUPCHAK HASTERT) and have drafted a 6 page Memorandum re: Legal Challenges to Hawaii HB No. 2078 and SB No. 2947...

    Do these folks have any background of fighting and winning battles against legislation?  In the end, legal battles are a battle of wits, and often don't  come down to who's right or wrong, but who argues their case best.

    I don't want to tell anybody who the right lawyer is, but accidentally looking at SB2809, I saw a bill to pay some lawyers who had won a judgement against the state.  I'm not sure what they were fighting for, but they seem to have expertise in line with out needs: http://www.ahfi.com/practice-areas.html

     

    Again... I don't want to leave the impression that I know what I'm talking about.

  • New Member 22 posts since
    Feb 25, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,174. Apr 12, 2012 1:03 PM (in response to blackburied)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Hi, all:

     

    We've all been pretty hard at it, and I think we've done a great job of articulating our points.

     

    I do have to say that some folks have been quite uncivil, in some cases, when responding to our facts, but that's sometimes the way of it: Everyone brings a different skill set to discussing policy and trying to refine it.

     

    Just the other night, I was reading my latest testimony to our cat.  Odd as it may sound, he was having none of it.  He did not respond to my points, and when I tried ever more passionately to make them, he became pre-occupied with cleaning the very last inch of his tale, then vamoosed through the cat door.  Later, when I read the submission to a colleague, he was quite impressed.  But there you go, some audiences listen, and others, well, not so much.

     

    Against that backdrop, I'd urge us to continue to be civil ourselves.  It's what makes us formidable, and preserves options -- including those needed to build alliances, or to mitigate the same effort by those opposed to us.

     

    I say all this because neither did I care very much for parts of the realtor's blog drawn to my attention this morning.  That said, it's the same site that ran the "Hawaii wants to leave Canadians in the cold" piece from The Vancouver Sun, so I think we can see that their their standards have slipped:).  In any event, I have responded -- we'll see if it makes it up -- and hope that I've done you and our efforts justice.

     

    I think it was a very kind thing that several of you also responded, and I thank you for it. I'll let the facebook group know as well, but as always, your facts and points are the compelling thing, and not only do I suspect all cats are like our cat, I think some humans are too, so don't burn out on those who won't or can't listen; find a better playing field, I say.

     

    Adam

     

    OK, here's what I put in:

     

     

    A key part of any policy discussion is always the facts, and getting them right; otherwise, discussions and premises for action are off to a bad start.  Your comment in respect of Canada and Canadians, “Just when you thought that real state [sic] law could not get more complex, we suddenly find ourselves dealing with international trade agreements” is illustrative in precisely this way.

     

    In fact, the agreement you reference between the US, Mexico and Canada is the North American Free Trade Agreement, not the “Fair” trade agreement as you incorrectly identified it.  Moreover, NAFTA has been in effect since January 1, 1994.  In removing most barriers to trade and investment among the United States, Canada, and Mexico, it has been shaping and creating cross-border investment opportunities between the partner countries for close to 20 years now. 

     

    NAFTA offers provisions and protections for Americans, Mexicans, and Canadians engaging in cross-border trade.  One of the key provisions for Americans, Mexicans, and Canadians — and you can easily find this on your US Trade Representative’s website — is “National Treatment.”  In fact, NAFTA spells out the provisions and protections offered under “national Treatment” quite clearly, saying that the US, Mexico, and Canada, and their respective states or provinces:

     

    . . . shall accord to investors of another Party, or investments of investors of another Party, treatment no less favorable than that it accords, in like circumstances, to its own investors with respect to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, and sale or other disposition of investments . . . . The treatment accorded by a Party means, with respect to a state or province, treatment no less favorable than the most favorable treatment accorded, in like circumstances, by that state or province to investors, and to investments of investors, of the Party of which it forms a part.

     

    The bill you reference — and others like it this legislative session — holds a different standard for on-Island owners of transient accommodations than it does for off-Island owners of transient accommodations, going so far as to dictate an operating standard for off-Island owners that it does not prescribe for on-Island owners. For Canadian cross-border investors so targeted this way, NAFTA is clear:  Canadian cross-border investors are to receive from the State of Hawaii (or any state) “treatment no less favorable than the most favorable treatment accorded,” which would be the treatment the bill affords to on-Island owners of transient accommodation.  If passed, this bill and those like it, will go to the dispute-resolution process agreed to by the US, Canada, and Mexico, where they will fail, and cash-strapped Hawaii will be assessed monetary penalties; that’s just the way NAFTA was designed to work by the US, Canada and Mexico, almost two decades ago.

     

    By my count, I have now made five separate acts of testimony to the Hawaii Legislature on various bills related to transient accommodation, supplementary letters notwithstanding.  If you take a moment to visit the State of Hawaii Legislature webpage, you’ll be able to see the testimony submitted by those opposed to the bill.  There are hundreds of pages of testimony in opposition.  Americans cite many reasons to oppose the bill, including infringement on the four Hawaii Counties’ Home Rule Powers, and its application of invasion of privacy, fraud, theft and other burdens and liabilities on those it targets.  They also cite its affronts to the Privileges and Immunities Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. Hmm, just when you thought that real estate law could not get more complex, we suddenly find ourselves dealing with two-decade old international trade agreements, and that tired old chestnut, the US Constitution.

     

    And in those hundreds of pages of testimony, nowhere was there a statement by a Canadian, an American, or any other investor in Hawaii that they don’t want to pay TAT, as your note states.  In fact, the common statement was that if the State of Hawaii truly wanted to ensure tax compliance, and consumer protection via the amended requirements for an on-Island contact, it could easily do so through a bill that pursued that aim but upheld US Constitution and NAFTA protections at the same time.  Americans and Canadians were united on this front:  The State’s approach seems not at all interested in any of those points; if it were, there would be a much better bill before the Legislature.

     

    Again, thank you for your note on the subject matter.  With the facts now corrected, your assessment of the issues advanced by Canadians as “amusing” holds only as an unkindness.

     

    And therein lies another sad consequence of this Legislative session — it has taken friendships presumed to be strong and enduring and revealed them to be quite the opposite.

     

    A shame, really.

  • Contributor 26 posts since
    Mar 24, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,175. Apr 12, 2012 1:19 PM (in response to cruisin9)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Blackburied....

     

    I do not have any affiliation with RBOAA except that I am a member and support their efforts.

     

    These BILLS and being written, debated, passed and ammended RIGHT NOW, and as far as I can tell our letter writing campaigns have had minimal effect. I've talked to dozens of people in Hawaii, includings some State employees, and no one ouside of the industry has even heard of these bills (let alone cares).

     

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but so far I believe  RBOAA is the only organizartion that has:

     

    - attempted to organize owners in a unified voice

    - have someone present at the hearings

    - be our presence on the ground in Hawaii

    - issue press releases

    - hire an attorney

     

    Whether or not they have retained the optimum attorney in the long run is a debate to follow. Right now they are the only game in town. If we want to take action NOW rather than after these bills are signed into law, then the best course of action I can find is to join RBOAA and support their efforts.

     

    If we want to organize another group or retain other law firms in the future, we will cetainly have an opportunity to doing so. In the meantime time supporting RBOAA with a $100 donation is the least expensive and most effective means of oppsoing these bills that I have found to date. (If time is money, many of us have probably already spent $1000's on this effort....). 

     

    PS - I have attached a copy of the RBOAA attorney's "Legal Challenges to Hawaii HB No. 2078 and SB No. 2947" to this message

  • jwe Contributor 284 posts since
    Feb 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,176. Apr 12, 2012 1:22 PM (in response to islandadventures)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Here is a link to the attorney's opinion I have placed in a public Dropbox

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/18145193/Hawaii%20---%20Attorney%20Greg%20Kugle%20Me

    morandum%204-9-2012.doc

  • Contributor 175 posts since
    Feb 22, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,177. Apr 12, 2012 1:24 PM (in response to islandadventures)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    I'm definitely not trying to organize a separate group... just thinking ahead, as, like ajl's cat, I don't believe the legislature has any prerogative to listen to us, and has already decided to clean their tails and step outside.

     

    There isn't a forum on the RBOAA's web site for the discussion of the legal battle, so I was just hoping we might air some ideas here.  It's a very important decision that will need to be made soon (the law goes into effect July 1, 2012).

  • Contributor 175 posts since
    Feb 22, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,178. Apr 12, 2012 2:55 PM (in response to islandadventures)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    islandadventures wrote:

     

    PS - I have attached a copy of the RBOAA attorney's "Legal Challenges to Hawaii HB No. 2078 and SB No. 2947" to this message

    IANAL and would add that I don't know WT? I'm talking about, but...

     

    I would have stated that HRS 467 gives us the right to manage our properties, and HB2078 takes that away under the guise that a licensed agent or caretaker is the only person qualified to be a local emergency contact.

     

    I would also think that there must be some law that employee information needs to be kept confidential.

     

    Otherwise, it seems very well written, with a good train of thought.

     

    The attorney does seem to have experience with real estate law (from his bio at http://www.lawyers.com/Hawaii/Honolulu/Gregory-W-Kugle-891251-a.html).  Has he ever gone up against the AG in front of a judge?  It would be nice to know what the selection process was, and if the RBOAA feels this is the right lawyer to move forward with.

     

    I know some would feel I'm stepping on toes and this is none of my business, so I apologize in advance, and hope you commiserate with me that we choose the right lawyer to win, as we'll probably only get one chance.

  • jwe Contributor 284 posts since
    Feb 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,179. Apr 12, 2012 3:18 PM (in response to blackburied)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Attorney Greg Kugl was already working on these bills (for HVROA - a

    Honolulu based organization)  before you or I were involved and before

    RBOAA was formed.

    As a result he was a natural selection and hit the ground running for RBOAA

     

    One of his earlier opinions for HVROA was in Feb.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/18145193/2089%20legal%20opinion%20-%20DAMON%20KEY%20

    LEONG%20KUPCHAK%20HASTERT.pdf

     

    Constructive suggestions and recommendations as well as contributions to

    RBOAA  are  welcome.

  • Contributor 175 posts since
    Feb 22, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,180. Apr 12, 2012 3:38 PM (in response to jwe)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO


    jwe wrote:

     

    Attorney Greg Kugl was already working on these bills (for HVROA - a

    Honolulu based organization)  before you or I were involved and before

    RBOAA was formed.

    A lot of us gave to HVROA at the beginning of all this/HB1707... did any of that money find its way to the RBOAA?

     

    Do we have an estimate as to how much money it will cost to fight this, and how much we need to put-out up front?

     

    Since many find this line of thought pre-mature, I suggest we start an RBOAA "legal defense fund", and assure donors that if the bills don't pass, they will get their money back (from this fund).

     

    This means we can hit the ground running.

     

    It will also mean that if we hit the "up front money" goal quickly, this may give pause to ajl's house cats to stand up and take notice (and back-off their tail-licking).

  • Contributor 38 posts since
    Feb 16, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,181. Apr 12, 2012 3:57 PM (in response to blackburied)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    RBOAA has not received any funds from HVROA.  We would assume that all monies given to HVROA were used to produce the prior opinions from Mr Kugels' firm.  They are not cheap to produce.

     

    RBOAA is a non profit, the board and its members are not paid it is all volunteers that have spent many hours working to defeat all of these bills that have been thrown at us. 

     

    RBOAA continues to fight within the constraints of time and resources.  If we need to go to a legal battle then we will formulate a solid plan of action at that time.  It will be very expensive.

     

    RBOAA will make its finances very transparent to its members.

     

    If you have not joined the organization, please do so now.  Even if we get these bills deferred we may see them again in next years legislation.

     

    www.rboaa.org

     

    The membership application is on the site.

  • jwe Contributor 284 posts since
    Feb 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,182. Apr 12, 2012 4:34 PM (in response to blackburied)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    HVROA is a separate organization from RBOAA but has provided advice to

    RBOAA, but no funds.  We do have some common goals, but they are not

    identical.

     

    We will all have a better sense of what needs to be done legally after the

    legislature finishes their session in a few weeks and will be in a much

    better position to determine the potential costs then.

     

    Hopefully litigation will not be necessary.  But even if its not, we will

    need a vibrant organization to protect our interests in the future so we

    never get surprised or our rights threatened again.

  • Contributor 30 posts since
    Feb 22, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,183. Apr 12, 2012 6:43 PM (in response to jwe)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Updated status today on HB2078 is: House disagrees with Senate amendment (s).

  • New Member 8 posts since
    Mar 7, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1,184. Apr 12, 2012 8:58 PM (in response to grs)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Does anyone have an idea what this means?  Do we need to be contacting members of the House of Rep????

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