(BIVN) – The Hawaii County Council discussed the possibility of regulating vacation rentals at a recent committee meeting in Hilo.
On November 1, the Hawaii County Governmental Relations and Economic Development Committee interfaced with state lawmakers to talk about upcoming legislative efforts. The topic of vacation rentals, like the services provided by Airbnb, came up towards the end of the talk.
Hilo councilwoman Sue Lee Loy, holding a copy of the Honolulu Star Advertiser in hand, asked State Representative Richard Onishi, the chair of the House Committee on Tourism, for his thoughts on the news that Governor David Ige is in talks with Airbnb over the issue of tax collection. According to the article, the governor and Airbnb are working on a private tax agreement that would have the vacation rental company collect taxes from its hosts and then send the money to the state.
Over the summer, Governor Ige vetoed a measure passed through the state legislature that would have allowed “transient accommodations brokers to register as tax collection agents with the state,” and would have allowed “companies such as Airbnb to collect and remit general excise and transient accommodations taxes on behalf of the hosts and visitors who use their services.”
“We believe there could be unintended consequences of this proposed measure,” the governor rationalized at the time. “Vacation rentals fall under the city’s jurisdiction. In order for this bill to work as intended, counties must more actively enforce their own laws on vacation rentals before they claim additional tax revenues.”
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported over the weekend that legislation is being drafted to regulate “unhosted” vacation rentals on Hawaii Island.