The Legislature's Finance Committee has decided it's OK to allow illegal B&Bs and TVRs to flourish, so long as they're paying some taxes.
The panel — whose members include Kauai Rep. Jimmy Tokioka — yesterday passed HB 1850, which allows entities like AirBnB to serve as tax collection agencies. However, they aren't required to disclose the names and addresses of any of their operators, or verify whether they're paying general excise and transient accommodation taxes.
Kauai Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura was on HPR's “The Conversation” yesterday, mostly talking about the real property tax assessment cap the Council ended up approving for homesteads and long-term rentals. But she also weighed in on HB 1850, saying:
“We're concerned our neighborhoods will become horizontal hotels...and push out residents.”
Will become? Shoots, they already are.
JoAnn also noted that TVRs “are what contribute greatly to the rise of real property taxes.” So why, then, was she instrumental in pushing through county bills that have allowed TVRs to flourish in residential neighborhoods, thus decreasing the availability of long-term rentals?
Is there some sort of amnesia that politicians suffer that allows them to forget their major screw ups, particularly in election years?
And even more important, why did she support a bill that allowed TVRs on ag land, which has significantly added to the rise of luxury gentleman's estates and pushed ag land prices out of the reach of farmers?
Speaking of gentleman's farms, while flying into Hilo last night, I thumbed through the Hana Hou magazine and saw this ad:
It really spoke to the mentality that is behind so much of the anti-ag movement in Hawaii: Live your dream, with none of the work. Yeah, pretend you're a farmer and rhapsodize about farming, while someone else labors.
Meanwhile, as Kauai folks await release of the Joint Fact Finding Group's report on pesticides, state campaign spending reports show that two of the panelists — Doug Wilmore and Louisa Wooten — contributed to Gary Hooser's last Council campaign. Doug gave $600, while Louisa contributed $50.
Gary, as you may recall, introduced Bill 2491, which ultimately was thrown out of court, along with its provision for an environmental and public health study. Instead, the mayor and Department of Ag funded this JFFG process.
While it's always been clear that the panel has some anti-GMO diehards, it's troubling to see that at least two are confirmed Hooser supporters.