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  • jwe Contributor 284 posts since
    Feb 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    885. Mar 23, 2012 7:16 PM (in response to cruisin9)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    We need to focus more on  Public Relations and need volunteers for that effort.For example, tonight the Kudlow Report TV show focused on federal government over reach.  If they can run a feature on that, they can certainly run a feature on HI government over reach in regulating vacation rentals.

  • jwe Contributor 284 posts since
    Feb 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    886. Mar 24, 2012 7:36 AM (in response to cruisin9)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Seeking Links to Articles

     

    I will contact the Kudlow report to see if we can get them intersted in running a show on Hawaiian Government Overreach.   I have seen several articles on what the HI Houase and Senate are doing with these bills regarding non-resident property owners but can not find them.  It would be very helpful if  people could provide links to good background articles.  Mahalo

  • New Member 4 posts since
    Mar 8, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    887. Mar 24, 2012 9:44 AM (in response to jwe)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    I have a PR package that I've put together with the major testimony opposing SB 2089 from people like the Hawaii Attorney General, The Realtor Association and many others.  Please send me your email address and I'll forward it for your inclusion.

  • jwe Contributor 284 posts since
    Feb 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    888. Mar 24, 2012 10:41 AM (in response to rhood151)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Thank you

     

    Please send to maui@pinninvest.com

     

    Mahalo

  • Contributor 78 posts since
    Mar 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    889. Mar 24, 2012 11:47 AM (in response to cruisin9)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    REMEMBER, Tuesday AM is the deadline to submit testimony for HB1706,so please aim for submittal no later than Monday evening.    Letters for SB2078 did not make it into the testimony packages, and the actual number of ON-TIME letters was UNDER-Represented, so please do not delay in getting testimony submitted for HB1706.

     

    ALSO, while HB1706 does not appear as harmful as the other bills, appearances can be (and have been) deceiving.    Learning from what happened with SB2078 this last week at committee review, you know that ANYTHING can also happen with HB1706.

     

    The language of HB1706 has several troubling elements that may not pop out/off the page at you.    But the warning signs are in the use of the term "rental agent" and the use of the phrase "who is responsible for the management of the unit".

     

    Not included in the bill's language, but separately quoted to the press and in the newspaper(s), Rep. Brower and HAR's Director of Governmental Affairs both made use of the term tax in context with HB1706.   So it should not come to a surprise to any of us if the bill is amended at the Committee hearing to look more similar to 2078.

     

    YOUR VOICE and your letters continue to be imperative to stop Hawaii's legislature from damaging your rights as a property owner .    Please submit your letters as soon as possible.

     

    Following, the shall be the next round of letters for SB2078, SD2, next heading to the CPN committee, date not scheduled yet.

  • Contributor 78 posts since
    Mar 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    890. Mar 24, 2012 11:53 AM (in response to alohaes)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    My letter going to Committee Review for HB1706:

     

     

    Dear Legislators,

     

    Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony.

     

    I oppose HB1706 on the following grounds:

     

    State laws may not be in conflict with US Supreme Court rulings on interstate commerce relative to the Interstate Commerce Clause.

     

    This bill discriminates between non-resident and residents of the state without required compelling need to do so.  This bill as well as HB1707, SB2089, SB2078 each serve to artificially create subgroups, each with different levels of law, and different levels of indirect taxation, where no compelling state need has been provided, which is required to legally support this type of discrimination.

     

    A number of legal precedents exist, including this summary:

     

    Baldwin v G. A. F. Seelig (1935) where Justice Cardozo wrote that when "a state tries to isolate itself economically" it must show an important interest for doing so and that it had no less discriminatory mean open for accomplishing its goal.  Cardozo's test has become the standard test for evaluating state laws that discriminate against out-of-state commerce.

     

    Relative to any possible ties of the language of HB1706 to collection of taxes, a distinct omission within HB1706 to apply also to residents, and a lack of evidence to support a need to do so, this law unjustly places a higher cost of business on non-residents.    Tax Collection efforts should have no lesser focus on remittance levels from one group or another.

     

    Lacking evidence of harm to consumers by one group called resident owners and another group called non-resident owners, the state has not demonstrated a need to exempt resident owners from HB1706.    Consumers should receive equal consideration of protection in the rental of TVRs regardless of the residency status of the owners.

     

    For the purpose of supporting a Resident Managers or Managing Agents within Condomium properties, a requirement of emergency contact information is no more applicable to units that are rented by an owner relative to their off-island or on-island status.  It is inappropriate that this information be withheld from a Condomium Property regime by a resident of Hawaii who operates a vacation rental in that complex.

     

    I therefore hereby respectfully offer an appropriate revision, that is the least discriminatory mean open for accomplishing your goal of this bill.

     

     

    SS 514B - Owners; on-island contacts.  An owner who rents or leases the unit to a tenant shall provide the managing agent or resident manager with the name and telephone number of an on-island contact whose role shall serve to be an emergency point of contact for issues requiring help locally or other duties assigned and determined by the owner who deems such duties appropriate to support the rental. If the owner of the unit resides on island, that owner may elect to identify his/herself as the on-island contact in their requirement to provide to the managing agent or resident manager the name and telephone number.  Any owner shall notify resident manager or managing agent of the complex of changes in their on-island contact name or phone number in a timely basis from which time they are aware such change occurs.

     

    I ask you to also consider and make reference to NAFTA and its application to this bill and all others under consideration.

     

    Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony.

  • New Member 3 posts since
    Mar 23, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    891. Mar 24, 2012 2:49 PM (in response to alohaes)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    I just joined the discussion yesterday.

     

    As most of us are, I am slammed with work. I want to send letters this weekend. But I need to know to whom to address them to. I don't have the time needed read backwards through the discussion.

     

    I appreciate that you have shared your letter, and I like your points. But I think as long as we show opposition in numbers as property owners against the bills and give a brief reason, the folks voting will get the point.

     

    What I would love to get is exactly to whom do I send the letters and the email addresses or where I can find them.

     

    Can you or anyone else send these to  me?

  • Contributor 78 posts since
    Mar 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    892. Mar 24, 2012 3:28 PM (in response to surfingseapearl)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    surfingseapearl and everyone:

     

    here's the email addresses.   Please note that this list applies only for this round of letters, it changes each time - just letting you know if you've only recently joined the effort and getting caught up right now.

     

    Also, some people send faxes and maybe later someone shall post the fax numbers but here's email.   Please add @capitol.hawaii.gov to each.  I would type it up that way but I have and I keep getting booted out and loosing the post response, so I apparently don't know how to do it properly

     

    CPNtestimony

    senbaker

    sentaniguchi

    sengaluteria

    sengreen

    sennishihara

    sensolomon

    senslom

     

     

     

    Generally this process has been like drinking from a firehose, so if that's how it feels, that's how it's supposed to feel.     Thanks for stepping up!    Also, generally you will find updates are posted here so you can feel 95% confident you'll get information when to write letters, to whom, etc.

     

    In your 'spare time', best place to learn is from the measure status site, look at the most recent committee reports and the most recent bill revision and the testimony.   You will learn a lot from that, however it does take a lot of time.    Here's the way to link to HB1706 HD1 (HD1 is most current revision), and from there you can navigate around the site, but it will take some patience and practice.       Google Measure Status Hawaii HB1706.   Sorry, I'd put the link but I kept getting booted out of the reply.

  • New Member 22 posts since
    Feb 25, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    893. Mar 24, 2012 8:01 PM (in response to alohaes)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Dear Alohaes and all:

     

    Just submitted my testimony on HB1706 HD1 for a second time, just to be sure, given my experience with 2078.

     

    I'm now getting interesting responses on the Canadian side, so we'll see.  Interesting?  Well, that "national treatment" issue is an important one here, and one of the reasons both countries signed NAFTA:  There are still those voices here who, in recognizing that Canada is the single-greatest supplier of oil to the US after US domestic production, want to dismantle NAFTA and the "national treatment" protection and charge Americans a much higher price than Canadians pay.  Never mind the supply of fresh water to water-deficient States.  Perhaps these Hawaii bills will create new resolve to bring this kind of 'me-first' approach here; and maybe these trade agreements just don't, or can't, work anymore.  One thing seems certain to me:  once one group decides to ignore agreements and protections and the documents that give them life, force and status, things can fall down pretty fast.  These are such desperate times for so many governments and families -- lots of reasons for Hawaii and other places to take the 'me-first' attitude, I guess, but to what end?  I'm still thinking that they aren't running these bills through any kind of lens beyond the rose-coloured 'me-first' one.  We'll soon see, I guess, if Mainland and international practicality asserts itself into Island policy initiatives.

     

    Adam

     

    Here's my email cover (ignore font and orther cut and paste noise; it's just that -- noise.

     

    Dear Senator Baker, Committee Members, and Members of the House and Senate:

     

    (I apologize if this is the second time you have seen this.  I'm sending it again because my testimony for related bill HB2078 -- sent one week prior to the Committee meeting through the Hawaii State Legislature webpage "testimony" link, and confirmed as being received -- was not retrieved by Senator Kim's office.  Which meant that while over 300 Members of Parliament in Canada received my testimony, as well as Members of the Senate of Canada representing British Columbia and Alberta, almost two dozen US and Canada trade and diplomatic officials, and Members of the United States Congress, Members of the Hawaii Legislature Committee considering the bill did not.  They may have received my faxed testimony, but I have no way of knowing this.  Accordingly, based on my most recent experience, I'm sending my testimony on HB1706 HD1 again, with apologies if it turns out to be a duplication.)

     

    In providing this testimony to you and others as noted, I am asking that all recipients of this letter, including Hawaii State Legislators, use the expertise and resources available to them — which in both cases will be far superior to mine — to undertake to determine that such a legislative standard as proposed by the Hawaii State Legislature in HB1706 HD1 supports and upholds the spirit and intent of NAFTA, and the provisions and protections it offers cross- border investors.

     

    HB1706 HD1 “requires owners of residential units who reside on a different island than the unit or out-of-state to provide the managing agent or resident manager of the condominium project with contact information of a rental agent located in the State who is responsible for the management of the unit.”

     

    As NAFTA specifies (noting that “Party” means the United States, Mexico, and Canada):

    NAFTA Article 1102: National Treatment

    1. 1. Each Party shall accord to 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.
    2. 2. Each Party shall accord to investments of investors of another Party treatment no less favorable than that it accords, in like circumstances, to investments of its own investors with respect to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, and sale or other disposition of investments.
    3. 3. The treatment accorded by a Party under paragraphs 1 and 2 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.
    4. 4. For greater certainty, no Party may:

    (a) impose on an investor of another Party a requirement that a minimum level of equity in an enterprise in the territory of the Party be held by its nationals, other than nominal qualifying shares for directors or incorporators of corporations; or

    (b) require an investor of another Party, by reason of its nationality, to sell or otherwise dispose of an investment in the territory of the Party.

     

    I note that HB1706 HD1 makes a distinction between Hawaii ‘residents’ and, in my case, Canadians. It would it seek to afford “the most favourable treatment” to ‘residents’ and impose additional establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, and operation, and sale or other disposition requirements on Canadians by ascribing to Canadian investors the term “nonresidents.”

     

    This would appear to offer significant contrast to the commitments and protections embodied in NAFTA Article 1102: National Treatment.

     

    It is my continuing hope that accurate information on the NAFTA national treatment front might help shape the deliberations and debate by the Hawaii State Legislature. That would be positive, and it is in this spirit that I am contributing.

     

    Thank you again for your efforts to advance Hawaii policy objectives that enhance the underpinnings of the important trade relationship between our two countries. I would be pleased to assist in any way to advance state policy objectives in this regard.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Adam

     

    Adam Leamy

    Victoria, BC

    Canada

     

    And here's the testimony:

     

    March 15th, 2012

     

    Chair, Rosalyn H. Baker and Members

    Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection

    Hawaii State Legislature

    State Capitol

    415 South Beretania Street

    Honolulu, HI 96813

     

    and

     

    Members of the House and Senate

    Hawaii State Legislature

    State Capitol

    415 South Beretania Street

    Honolulu, HI 96813

     

    Dear Senator Baker, Committee Members, and Members of the House and Senate:

     

    My name is Adam Leamy.  I am a Canadian citizen, residing in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  I am writing in respect of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and House Bill 1706 HD1.  It would appear that the requirements of HB1706 HD1 offer contrast to the provisions and protections offered by NAFTA, which form the basis of modern-era trade between our two countries.

     

    My interest in this bill, and recent bills like it, stems from my ownership of two properties on Maui; units 203 (purchased in 2008) and 208 (purchased in 2011) in Hale Kai O’ Kihei.  This is a 59-unit building located at 1310 Uluniu Road in Kihei, 96753, and is supported by a full-time, live-in Resident Manager.  Both apartments are cared for and attended to by Tips Maui, Inc., owned by Mr. Ed Galvez, of Maui, Hawaii.  My Hawaii Tax Identification Number is W87097056-01. My Internal Revenue Service Tax Identification Number is 98-0607258.

     

    I make each of my properties available to vacationers to Hawaii through Vacation Rentals By Owner, where they are listed under www.vrbo.com/241190 and www.vrbo.com/357582.  I make all my own bookings.  My bookkeeper provides invoice and supplementary guest-contact support in this regard, and ensures collection and remittance of the Hawaii Transient Accommodation Tax and the General Excise Tax.  My accountant prepares my Canadian tax return for the Canada Revenue Agency. And an IRS-qualified and recognized accountant makes all required filings to the Internal Revenue Service per its requirements and the “United States — Canada Income Tax Convention,” i.e., IRS form 1042 and Hawaii State Tax Form N-30.  These are not inexpensive services, but in my view, they are what’s required to operate responsibly and successfully.

     

    In respect of HB1706 HD1, the details of the Bill, excerpted from it, are as follows:

     

    Report Title:      Condominiums; Rental Agents

    Description:      Requires owners of residential units who reside on a different island than the unit or out-of-state to provide the managing agent or resident manager of the condominium project with contact information of a rental agent located in the State who is responsible for the management of the unit.

     

     

    I have written previously on bills introduced this session. I stated then, and do so here that because of my respect for United States sovereignty over its affairs, and that of the individual States over theirs, I offer no stance on this bill, just comment.  I do hope, however, that my input might be considered so that in meeting its policy objectives, the Hawaii State legislature upholds the provisions and protections of NAFTA that are relied upon by those engaged in cross-border investment between our two countries.

     

    My comment on HB1706 HD1 centres on the NAFTA protections on cross-border investment that the United States Government and the Government of Canada and the governments of their respective States and Provinces agreed to extend to Americans and Canadians engaged in cross-border investment. This agreement — NAFTA — came into effect on January 1, 1994, after having been signed by U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Mexican President Carlos Salinas, and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

     

    As NAFTA specifies (noting that “Party” means the United States, Mexico, and Canada):

     

    NAFTA Article 1102: National Treatment

    1. 1. Each Party shall accord to 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.

    1. 2. Each Party shall accord to investments of investors of another Party treatment no less favorable than that it accords, in like circumstances, to investments of its own investors with respect to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, and sale or other disposition of investments.

    1. 3. The treatment accorded by a Party under paragraphs 1 and 2 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.

    1. 4. For greater certainty, no Party may:

    (a) impose on an investor of another Party a requirement that a minimum level of equity in an enterprise in the territory of the Party be held by its nationals, other than nominal qualifying shares for directors or incorporators of corporations; or

    (b) require an investor of another Party, by reason of its nationality, to sell or otherwise dispose of an investment in the territory of the Party.

     

     

    I note that HB1706 HD1 makes a distinction between Hawaii ‘residents’ and, in my case, Canadians.  It would it seek to afford “the most favourable treatment” to ‘residents’ and impose additional establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, and operation, and sale or other disposition requirements on Canadians, i.e., by ascribing to this class of investor the term “nonresidents.”

     

    It would seem to me that if individual citizens of Canada and the United States made such investments, and then found that state or provincial action applied greater operational standards and additional costs to them than it did to ‘resident’ investors engaged in the same enterprise, NAFTA would be discredited within both countries at its basic level:  by individual citizens who sought to pursue cross-border investment and enterprise through its provisions, only to see themselves the focus of targeted operational requirements and costs after the investments had been made.

     

    It also seems likely that such individuals, encouraged by their governments to embrace NAFTA and seek opportunities under its provisions, would quickly turn to these same governments for action and resources to offset the additional costs imposed on them because of such governments’ encouragement to embrace NAFTA, and the failure of the cross-border state or province to honour its provisions and protections.

     

    The NAFTA protections on national treatment notwithstanding, I note that in respect of HB1706 HD1, it would require “ . . . provision of contact information of a rental agent located in the State who is responsible for the management of the unit.”  If the intent is for guests to have someone responsible and accountable to turn to if there are on-site problems, or if they are to be notified of issues impacting their concerns or well-being, I believe that I have that circumstance addressed.  Indeed, as part of the detailed “Guest Welcome Letter” and supplemental information I provide to all my guests — I provide my cell (for calling and texting) and desk phone numbers and my email addresses, for contact purposes.  As well, in both units, I provide free long-distance services through Hawaiian Telecom, in part so that guests can reach me without delay or cost.

     

    More specifically, in materials I supply to guests before they depart their homes for Maui, and that I post clearly in each unit, on the refrigerators, I provide the following additional contact information:

     

    KEY CONTACTS DURING YOUR STAY

    If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me first:

    Adam Leamy, Owner

    Cell:  (250) my cell number/Desk:  (250) my desk number

    Email:  my email address

    For unit 208 issues, i.e., cleanliness, plumbing, electrical, or other maintenance matters, the people to contact are:

    Ed Galvez, TIPS Maui

    Cell:  (808) Mr. Galvez’s cell number

    Email:  Mr. Galvez’s email address

    For building issues, i.e., walkways, laundry, WiFi, parking lot, pool, grounds, or building security, the person to contact between 8am – 4pm is the on-site resident manager:

    Mike Steiner, Resident Manager, Hale Kai O’ Kihei

    Hale Kai O’ Kihei Unit #:  Mr. Steiner’s apartment number

    HKOK Cell: (808) Mr. Steiner’s cell number

     

    In the almost four years since I purchased unit #203, and the nine months since I purchased #208, this Key Contact information, when it has been necessary, has worked flawlessly.  Indeed, thanks to the Digital Age and all the innovation it embodies, distance decay has been greatly reduced; just last week, I was able to receive, courtesy of the County of Maui’s website, immediate information on the Boil Water Advisory, and using the digital means available to me, reach my guests within minutes of the notice being sent out.

     

    But if, in requiring “. . . provision of contact information of a rental agent located in the State who is responsible for the management of the unit,” the intent of HB1706 HD1 is to address a situation whereby an owner has not provided similar “Key Contact” information and accountability by assigning to someone other than me responsibility for any part of the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, and operation, and sale or other disposition of my properties in Hawaii, then I would again reference the provisions and protections afforded by NAFTA to Canadians who have made cross-border investments in the Unites States, and to Americans that have made cross-border investments in Canada, citing the United States Department of State, whose website (http://www.state.gov/s/l/c3439.htm) offers additional clarity on the matter:

     

    Chapter Eleven of the North American Free Trade Agreement (the "NAFTA") contains provisions designed to protect cross-border investors and facilitate the settlement of investment disputes.  For example, each NAFTA Party must accord investors from the other NAFTA Parties national (i.e. non-discriminatory) treatment and may not expropriate investments of those investors except in accordance with international law.  Chapter Eleven permits an investor of one NAFTA Party to seek money damages for measures of one of the other NAFTA Parties that allegedly violate those and other provisions of Chapter Eleven.

     

     

    I am not alone in investing in United States real estate in order to establish and conduct enterprise there.  I expect that there are many thousands of Canadians who have made and operate similar investments in Hawaii, Florida, California, the New England states and all other states and regions of the Unites States, providing legal guest accommodation in all manner of housing types and locations.  In the same vein, there are likely many thousands of Americans who have invested in vacation and second properties in the provinces and regions of Canada, and through responsible management decisions, make them available to tourists visiting those locations.

     

    It also seems to me that in these uncertain economic times, it is better to head off such problems so that people can focus their energies on making investments and creating and operating enterprise.  This does not seem to be a good time for any of us to be distracted from the fundamentals our business investments and our operation of them.

     

    And that is why in writing to you I am again writing to others, by email or by fax as appropriate, in order to seek their efforts in providing helpful input to Hawaii State Legislature on bill HB1706 HD1.  It is my hope that they may be able to assist in ensuring HB1706 HD1 and bills similar to it achieve State of Hawaii objectives while honouring and upholding the provisions and promise of NAFTA, as committed to by the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  These individuals are:

    • All Members of Parliament (MP) from BC and Alberta, Canada (whose constituents, be they American and or Canadian, might own investment property in Hawaii and the other States)

    • All Senators from BC and Alberta, Canada (for the same reason as writing to MPs)

    • All other MPs in Canada (in respect of the 'creep' of HB1706 HD1 to other States where their constituents may have rental vacation properties and expect NAFTA protections to prevail)

     

    • The Hon. John Baird, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ottawa, Canada

    • The Hon. Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, Ottawa, Canada

    • The Hon. Diane Ablonczy, MP, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, Ottawa, Canada

    • Ambassador Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative, Washington, DC

    • The Hon. Max Baucus, Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Washington, DC

    • The Hon. Orrin G. Hatch, Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Finance, Washington, DC

    • The Hon. Dave Camp, Chairman, House Committee on Ways & Means, Washington, DC

    • The Hon. Sander Levin, Ranking Member, House Committee on Ways & Means, Wash., DC

    • Sen. Ron Wyden (OR), Chair, Subctte. Int’l Trade, Customs, and Global Comp., Wash. DC

    • Ambassador Gary Doer, Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Washington, DC

    • Ambassador David Jacobson, United States Ambassador to Canada, Ottawa, Canada

    • Consul General Anne Callaghan, United States Consul General in Vancouver, Canada

    • Consul General Cassie Doyle, Consul General of Canada in San Francisco (resp. for Hawaii)

    • Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Ottawa, Canada

     

    It is my continuing hope that accurate information on the NAFTA national treatment front might help shape the deliberations and debate by the Hawaii State Legislature.  That would be positive, and it is in this spirit that I am contributing. Accordingly, I am asking all recipients of this letter, including, members of the Hawaii State Legislature, to use the expertise and resources available to them to undertake to determine that such a legislative standard as proposed by the Hawaii State Legislature in HB1706 HD1 supports and upholds the spirit and intent of NAFTA, and the provisions and protections I have noted from Chapter 11, above.

     

    I do hope that in considering the purpose and intent of this and similar bills — if the purpose and intent are honourable and aimed at ensuring lawful participation by all Hawaii property owners offering transient accommodation in support for the schools, hospitals, services and infrastructure that keep Hawaii running — careful thought is given to all good and hard-working Americans and Canadians who have invested in Hawaii and, through payment of taxes, are contributing to a strong and economically viable Hawaii.  In may case, I am proud to have a documented business that attracts and accommodates visitors to the state, and which supports the Hawaii and United States economies through purchases made there to ensure the amenities and services are in place to make our guests’ stays exceptional.

     

    I know that my voice does not factor in Hawaii State Legislature considerations, but I would hope that commitments our two countries have made to each other — and indeed, expectations that we have of each other through trade treaties and tax conventions — do.

     

    It is important that guests know who they can turn to for assistance and accountability.  But HB1706 HD1 would appear to contravene the obligations of the State as committed to by the United States in affixing its signature to NAFTA on behalf of the states. And in these difficult times, it seems an unhelpful thing to let stand any policy or legislative initiative which tells current investors that despite the intent, promise, and security of NAFTA, its provisions and protections are meaningless, and their investment in the United States is as risky as, or perhaps riskier than, an investment in a jurisdiction without a trade agreement.

     

    I would hope that all who read this would provide input to Hawaii State Legislature HB1706 HD1 and others like it to ensure they achieve State objectives and achieve the commitments, provisions, and promise of NAFTA.  This bill, and others like it that have been written or amended in the past month, would appear to fail the required standard of providing Canadian investors with “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.”

     

    If the Hawaii State Legislature were simply aiming to make all owners as responsible as those who are obeying all the tax and other laws, they might reach out to those of us with State of Hawaii Tax Identification Numbers and Internal Revenue Service Tax Identification Numbers so that we could work together to demonstrate progressive ways to enter into tax compliance and guest-service accountability.

     

    Again, I offer to help in any way.

     

    The benefits of, and the responsibilities inherent in owning vacation or ‘transient’ accommodation in Hawaii or in any state or province should not be limited to the owner, nor end with the purchase of the property by an owner. As so many law-abiding, tax-collecting, and -remitting, and guest-focussed owners have proven — be they American, Canadian, or of other nationality — that purchase can be and is the start of the flowing of benefits and accountabilities to all who call the location of the investment home, and choose to visit it, too.

     

    I hope that’s a point upon which we can build and work together, and one that would see us do so while upholding responsibilities, protections, and commitments under NAFTA.

     

    I wish you the best in your deliberations throughout this legislative session.  I hope that you will use your expertise and resources, and seek and welcome same from others, to determine that such a legislative standard as proposed by the Hawaii State Legislature in HB1706 HD1 supports and upholds the spirit and intent of NAFTA, and the provisions and protections I have noted from Chapter 11, above.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Adam

     

     

     

    Adam Leamy

    773 Island Road

    Victoria, BC    V8S 2T8

    Canada

     

    Tel:  250-592-4778

    Email:  aleamy@northwestpublicaffairs.com

  • jwe Contributor 284 posts since
    Feb 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    894. Mar 24, 2012 9:05 PM (in response to ajl)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Truly democracy at its worst.

  • Contributor 78 posts since
    Mar 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    895. Mar 24, 2012 10:34 PM (in response to ajl)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Adam,  I'll be looking for your testimony in the on-time testimony package!   Very well done, and I found the first paragraph of your note to the Senator Baker and Committee Members, apologizing for the resend, particularly funny, in an embarrasing sort of way.   Point comes across very well!      Thank you for showing so much personal leadership and initiative at home, with Mainland US and with the Hawaiian Legislature.    I will re-read your testimony several times, it provides many important insights and it is truly sad for me personally to witness US doing things like this that cause harm to our friendship with our Canadian neighbors.   Hopefully our relations will emerge stronger when we get to the other side of this.  Anyhow, I believe the best partnerships are achieved based on how they fare through the tough times, not the easy ones.   Great letter Adam!

  • Contributor 26 posts since
    Mar 24, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    896. Mar 24, 2012 11:35 PM (in response to cruisin9)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    Aloha fellow Hawaii property owners.

     

    I have been working hard to help educate fellow owners, local industry service personel, and Hawaii Visitors about the potentitally devastiating economic effects of this legisaltion. We can rail on about property rights and free trade all we want, but others aren't going to join the fight until they think it is going to affect their pocket books. I am surprised how many owners, industry locals and Hawaii visitors are not aware of the far reaching implications of this legislation. Many owners and industry locals have told me it's "no big deal" and have adopted a "we will deal with it when it happens"  type of approach. I am afraid this lack of concern is reflected in a lack of action.

     

    One thing we have learned is that first person testimony is very important at these hearings (more weight seems to be given than to e-mails and uploads, etc) and it is impossible for most owners to be in Honolulu with 48 hours noitce.

     

    Please consider joining the The Rental by Owner Awareness Association http://rboaa.org

    They seem to be the first and best organization that has sprung up to oppose this damaging legislation.

     

    Joining this group will give us a voice at the Seante and House hearings. It will be more effective if a speaker can say "I represent a group of 1000 owners" than if they say they represent a group of 10 owners.

     

    Please feel free to contact this group and make up your own mind...but we all have to act quickly! Look at how rapigly things have progessed already. It will be much easier and less expensive to fight this legislation before it is signed into law.

     

    FYI - I am not personally associated with this group and derive no financial benefit from anyone joining...other than protecting our rental income and property values.

  • Contributor 26 posts since
    Mar 24, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    897. Mar 25, 2012 10:39 PM (in response to cruisin9)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    There will be more oppotunity for testimony in the very near future, but our next chance to address this issue is via HB1706 HD1

     

    Please read about and submit your testimony HB1706 HD1 on-line at:

     

    http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=hb&billnumber=1706

     

    Please keep in mind that they can ammend this bill to require a local property manager, just as they have with HB2078 HD2.

  • jwe Contributor 284 posts since
    Feb 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    898. Mar 25, 2012 7:26 AM (in response to cruisin9)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    There is a possible legal recourse we may have if an onerous bill passes and results in financial losses to property owners

     

    My brother, who is an attorney in another state, said that if we suffer financial damages due to legislation we have the right to recover damages.

     

    So, not only might we have the opportunity to challenge the bill itself on constitutional grounds and have it challenged by NAFTA, we can directly seek to recover damages.

  • info@waipoulicondo.com New Member 20 posts since
    Feb 21, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    899. Mar 25, 2012 7:51 AM (in response to rhood151)
    Re: Hawaii Trying to Kill VRBO

    @rhood151 - please send me your PR package at info@waipoulicondo.com . I have connections with journalists in Maui and know supportive locals in Kauai.

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