March 25, 2017 — End of March Update


In this edition: 

  1. End of March Update
  2. Time to Get Involved
  3. Membership Drive
  4. Legislator Contact Info


End of March Update

Since our last update at the beginning of March, the legislators sent their bills from the House to the Senate and from the Senate to the House and then took a bit of time off. They got back to work in earnest about a week to ten days ago.   And when they got back to work, they got busy!

SB683 and SB686.  Increase to property tax.

SB683 was a bill to amend the State Constitution to allow the counties to collect property taxes to fund the State’s obligation to pay for education.  This bill has turned into a call for a state-wide referendum on the proposed tax increase.  SB686 is a bill to increase property taxes on those who own residential property which is rented out and on vacation rental owners.  We would be hit with both taxes.  The bill was significantly amended in committee and now the residential investment tax applies only to properties valued at over $2 million. This is a huge win for the majority of our members. The section applying property tax to vacation rental properties remained unchanged.  If your rental rate is over $150 per night, the tax rate would be $5 per day, regardless of occupancy.  For rental rates under $150, the tax rate would be $3 per day.  So, for most people, that will be an additional $1825 of property tax per year.  RBOAA will continue to work on this aspect of the bill.  As the bill moves forward, we will call upon you again.    Remember:

  • We already pay property taxes which are 3 to 4 times higher than residential property owners.
  • We already collect and remit TAT
  • While education benefits everyone, it puts the burden of the cost of education on a few.
  • This bill is protectionist and isolationist and will only result in decreased investment in Hawaii.  It is nothing more than an attack on tourists and an attack on companies who rent accommodation to others.

These bills next go to the House Finance Committee.  The date has not yet been set.   Representative Luke and Representative Cullen are the Chair and Vice-Chair of this committee.   Please start contacting all Representatives ( their numbers and emails are below ) to tell them you don’t like this SB686. The two companion bills in the House of Representatives – HB 180 and HB 182 – died.

HB 1471 – Advertising Platforms as Tax Collection Agents (now in the Senate) SB704 – Advertising Platforms as Tax Collection Agents (now in the House)

This topic has become political theatre.  If you recall our last newsletter, the House CPC committee made the tax collection agent mandatory for all advertising platforms.   VRBO / Expedia testified against the bill, pointing out they would be forced out of Hawaii if this bill passed.  At least now we know VRBO, Homeaway and Expedia will not be tax collection agents any time soon.    Then, the Chair of the House CPC committee was fired from his position, not for his work on this bill but for amending another bill in a similarly outrageous way.      Then, the Senate received the House bill and promptly took out all the language and replaced it with the version of the bill the Senate had originally considered, but never passed.  [Your RBOAA exec team is not comprised of people who like to boast, but we do think our efforts played a part in this dramatic change]   Then, just on Friday, the House responded by taking a Senate bill on another topic, removing all the language and inserting the version of the bill which went to CPC – ie. the House version before it was turned into something crazy.   Your RBOAA executive team does not watch soap operas on tv, but we think they play out something like the Hawaii legislature!   So, we are back to it being optional for advertising platforms becoming tax collection agents.  We have two different approaches to dealing with the county land use laws.  The bill in the House will allow those not compliant with land use laws to hide behind the tax collection agent.  The bill in the Senate, due to some exceptionally poor wording choices, will actually prevent vacation rentals on Maui, Kauai and Hawaii if your advertising platform becomes a tax collection agent.  (They were really trying to address the issue of non-permitted vacation rentals on Oahu, but messed it up).  Both versions have significant privacy issue concerns.   So, RBOAA, along with our lobbyist, is working hard with the Senate to fix these issues.   As we have said from the start of the session, this bill will pass in some form.  RBOAA is working to make it the best form possible.   This next goes to the Senate CPH and WAM committees on March 30.   Bombarding the Chair of CPH will backfire, so RBOAA will work behind the scenes on this.   Remember:

  • The tourist industry is dependent on legal vacation rentals to provide accommodation for the tourists who visit the islands every year.
  • Those of us who are operating legally are paying GET and TAT correctly and on time and are in compliance with my county zoning requirements.  We don’t need a private company to police us.
  • The bill provides for private companies to share your tax information with the Counties.  Under US law and under Hawaii law, this is illegal.
  • The bill offers no consumer protection to owners or to travelers.
  • The bill makes transient vacation rental owners the only taxpayers in the USA who are required to use a private company to oversee their tax compliance.
  • The tax collection agents will increase the fees charged to vacation rental owners.  Vacation rental owners are not getting rich off their investments in Hawaii.
  • The state will pay the tax collection agents to collect taxes the State now collects for free.

Time to Get Involved

As with any organization, people come and people go  .Every organization needs new people to take on responsibilities, provide new energy and new ideas.   RBOAA is no different and some members of your executive team have indicated that they will be stepping down at the end of this term.  This is your opportunity to get involved and take on a role within the leadership of RBOAA.   If you are interested, please contact Neal at indicating which areas you would like to get involved with and a brief description of your background.  Please also tell us where your vacation rental is and confirm that it is compliant with both state and county regulations.


“Mahalo” to all of you who renewed your membership and/or made a donation to RBOAA this year.  We would not be able to do what we do without your support.   We have engaged our lobbyist in Honolulu already this year and he has been of great help so far.  But, he is not cheap!   In a recent study of some of the more popular owner rental web sites, there appears to be more than five thousand owner-managed vacation rental properties in Hawaii.  That number dwarfs our membership numbers so we know there are a lot of owners out there who might not be aware of RBOAA, not aware of all the good work we have done, and all of the good we will continue to do on your behalf.   We need to grow our membership in order to continue on as we have in the past.  Please ask anyone you know who owns a vacation rental property to visit our web site and become a member or make a donation today.  We all have neighbors, friends, or maybe even family who would benefit.  Please don’t assume they are aware of RBOAA.  We are all in this together and all of you can act as a small army of recruiters.  Please do your part and help us spread the word.  Help us make sure everyone who self manages a vacation rental property in Hawaii is aware of the opposition we all face and that RBOAA is here to help.     So please, right now, please renew your membership at and click on the “Donate — Click Here” button.   Remember, none of your executive team is paid – we are all volunteers.

Legislator Contact Info

Senate.  This table lists the contact information for all Senators.  Below the list is a summary of all email addresses which you should be able to copy and paste into your email To: field.
Baker ,  Rosalyn H. (D) 808-586-6070
Chang ,  Stanley (D) 808-586-8420
Dela Cruz ,  Donovan M.(D) 808-586-6090
English ,  J. Kalani (D) 808-587-7225
Espero ,  Will (D) 808-586-6360
Gabbard ,  Mike (D) 808-586-6830
Galuteria ,  Brickwood (D) 808-586-6740
Green ,  Josh (D) 808-586-9385
Harimoto ,  Breene (D) 808-586-6230
Ihara ,  Les Jr. (D) 808-586-6250
Inouye ,  Lorraine R. (D) 808-586-7335
Kahele ,  Kaiali‘i (D) 808-586-6760
Keith-Agaran ,  Gilbert S.C. (D) 808-586-7344
Kidani ,  Michelle N. (D) 808-586-7100
Kim ,  Donna Mercado (D) 808-587-7200
Kouchi ,  Ronald D. (D) 808-586-6030
Nishihara ,  Clarence K. (D) 808-586-6970
Rhoads ,  Karl (D) 808-586-6130
Riviere ,  Gil (D) 808-586-7330
Ruderman ,  Russell E. (D) 808-586-6890
Shimabukuro ,  Maile S.L.(D) 808-586-7793
Taniguchi ,  Brian T. (D) 808-586-6460
Thielen ,  Laura H. (D) 808-587-8388
Tokuda ,  Jill N. (D) 808-587-7215
Wakai ,  Glenn (D) 808-586-8585;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; ;

House of Representatives. This table lists all the members of the House of Representatives.  Below the list is a summary of all email addresses which you should be able to copy and paste into your email To: field.
Aquino ,  Henry J.C. (D) 808-586-6520
Belatti ,  Della Au (D) 808-586-9425
Brower ,  Tom (D) 808-586-8520
Cachola ,  Romy M. (D) 808-586-6010
Choy ,  Isaac W. (D) 808-586-8475
Creagan ,  Richard P. (D) 808-586-9605
Cullen ,  Ty J.K. (D) 808-586-8490
DeCoite ,  Lynn (D) 808-586-6790
Evans ,  Cindy (D) 808-586-8510
Fukumoto ,  Beth (R) 808-586-9460
Gates ,  Cedric Asuega (D) 808-586-8460
Har ,  Sharon E. (D) 808-586-8500
Hashem ,  Mark J. (D) 808-586-6510
Holt ,  Daniel (D) 808-586-6180
Ichiyama ,  Linda (D) 808-586-6220
Ing ,  Kaniela (D) 808-586-8525
Ito ,  Ken (D) 808-586-8470
Johanson ,  Aaron Ling (D) 808-586-9470
Keohokalole ,  Jarrett (D) 808-586-8540
Kobayashi ,  Bertrand (D) 808-586-6310
Kong ,  Sam Satoru (D) 808-586-8455
Lee ,  Chris (D) 808-586-9450
LoPresti ,  Matthew S. (D) 808-586-6080
Lowen ,  Nicole E. (D) 808-586-8400
Luke ,  Sylvia (D) 808-586-6200
Matsumoto ,  Lauren Kealohilani (R) 808-586-9490
McDermott ,  Bob (R) 808-586-9730
McKelvey ,  Angus L.K. (D) 808-586-6160
Morikawa ,  Dee (D) 808-586-6280
Nakamura ,  Nadine K. (D) 808-586-8435
Nakashima ,  Mark M. (D) 808-586-6680
Nishimoto ,  Scott Y. (D) 808-586-8515
Ohno ,  Takashi (D) 808-586-9415
Onishi ,  Richard H.K. (D) 808-586-6120
Oshiro ,  Marcus R. (D) 808-586-6700
Quinlan ,  Sean (D) 808-586-6380
Saiki ,  Scott K. (D) 808-586-8485
San Buenaventura , Joy A. (D) 808-586-6530
Say ,  Calvin K.Y. (D) 808-586-6900
Souki ,  Joseph M. (D) 808-586-6100
Takayama ,  Gregg (D) 808-586-6340
Takumi ,  Roy M. (D) 808-586-6170
Thielen ,  Cynthia (R) 808-586-6480
Todd ,  Chris (D) 808-586-8480
Tokioka ,  James Kunane(D) 808-586-6270
Tupola ,  Andria P.L. (R) 808-586-8465
Ward ,  Gene (R) 808-586-6420
Woodson ,  Justin H. (D) 808-586-6210
Yamane ,  Ryan I. (D) 808-586-6150
Yamashita ,  Kyle T. (D) 808-586-6330;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Thank you for your continued support.