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Monday, April 15, 2019
April 15, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:17 PM :: 2636 Views

Senate: OHA Must Complete Audit of LLCs

Unlucky and Unclean: How Not to Steal House 13

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted April 14, 2019

Rich States, Poor States: Hawaii Ranks 45th

$100M Hawaii tax hike bills -- Job Loss and Lawsuits

SA: … Lawmakers are considering a package of tax increases and other tax changes in the final weeks of the legislative session that could raise more than $100 million a year to help balance the state budget, but those plans have aroused the ire of major players in the business community.

One real estate investor said it will cancel its plans to finance an expansion of the Ka Makana Alii Shopping Center in Kapolei if lawmakers pass a bill to abolish a tax break for real estate investment trusts, or REITs.

Meanwhile, representatives of Expedia Group and Airbnb warn that federal law prohibits them from complying with information disclosure provisions in another major tax bill. Those pronouncements might foretell lawsuits over Senate Bill 1292, which is designed to force vacation rental operators in Hawaii to pay their state excise and hotel room taxes….

The Senate, meanwhile, is proposing in HB 419 to require vacation rental platforms to accept bookings for only those properties that are on a county list of legal short-term rentals. The platforms would also be required to disclose to the state the address of each listing and the names of the rental operators.

But according to Expedia, the state would need a subpoena to obtain even the most basic information such as a client’s name and contact information. The company says the federal Stored Communications Act prohibits it from releasing “personal data” to the Tax Department or the counties….

The Senate, meanwhile, is proposing in HB 419 to require vacation rental platforms to accept bookings for only those properties that are on a county list of legal short-term rentals. The platforms would also be required to disclose to the state the address of each listing and the names of the rental operators.

But according to Expedia, the state would need a subpoena to obtain even the most basic information such as a client’s name and contact information. The company says the federal Stored Communications Act prohibits it from releasing “personal data” to the Tax Department or the counties….

Some tax bills and the potential tax haul:

  • BILL / DESCRIPTION / FY 2021 / FY 2022


  • SB 1292 Collect taxes on Airbnb-type vacation rentals $52.3 million $53.9 million
  • SB 162 Charge Hawaii residents and visitors the same car rental tax $8.1 million $8.4 million*
  • SB 301 Eliminate state dividend deduction for REITs $9.2 million $9.5 million


  • SB 1361 Increase tax on estates greater than $10 million $4.7 million $5 million (Act 3)
  • SB 380 Tax mandatory resort fees paid by all guests $11.4 million $11.9 million (pending)
  • SB 396 Impose state excise tax on additional online sales $9.8 million $10.1 million (Act 2)

* House lawmakers are considering a new draft that would further increase the car rental tax.

read … Business leaders resist Hawaii tax proposals

SB1000: Use EV Mandate to Make Housing Even More Unaffordable

SA: … The bills are making their way toward the final hurdles at the state Legislature, where details have yet to be ironed out.

Senate Bill 1000 would prohibit counties from issuing building permits after 2020 for multifamily or commercial buildings with 10 to 20 stalls unless a certain percentage are EV charger- ready, subject to superseding county ordinances.

In the latest amended version of the bill, which is headed to conference committee, the actual percentage — originally set at 20% — has yet to be determined….

The bill goes after the big players, such as the developers of condos and commercial buildings, and requires that they have sufficient wires, conduits, electrical panel service capacity and other equipment needed to connect to an EV charger, he said.

Having the proper infrastructure from the beginning, even at a higher upfront cost…

The bill is supported by Ulupono, the Blue Planet Foundation and the Hawaiian Electric Cos. but opposed by trade groups including the Building Industry Association of Hawaii and Retail Merchants of Hawaii….

Paul Gauci, 40, a wealth adviser at First Hawaiian Bank, drives a 2018 Nissan Leaf from Kapolei to downtown Honolulu.  His main motivation for getting an EV was to use the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on the H-1 freeway, but free parking and a charging station at the municipal parking garage in Chinatown turned out to be great perks, too…. 

read … Hawaii legislators pushing for electric vehicle chargers

Do you believe in coincidences?

ILind: … The accident in which then-HPD Sgt. Albert Lee’s vehicle went off the road and crashed in Hawaii Kai occurred in the early morning hours of November 17, 2016. For much of the previous 12 months, Lee had been feeling the heat from HPD higher ups for triggering the arrest of Honolulu businessman Michael Miske in December 2015, and the accident occurred just hours before he was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury investigating corruption in his department.

Exactly one year earlier, on November 17, 2015, the car in which Jonathan Fraser and Caleb-Jordan Miske-Lee were driving crash into another vehicle at the intersection of Kaneohe Bay Drive and Makalani Street in Kaneohe. Miske-Lee was critically injured, and after a prolonged hospitalization, died on March 12, 2016. And several months after that, on July 30, 2016, Fraser disappeared without a trace.

Miske-Lee’s father, Michael Miske, blamed Fraser for his son’s death, as evidenced by the lawsuit filed on behalf of Miske-Lee’s estate….

read … Do you believe in coincidences?

Details lost in reporting election-by-mail results

ILind: …In a regular election, precinct-level data are available. This means that data for each polling place are reported.

Looking at the 2018 General Election results, for example, we know that a total of 1053 ballots were cast at Kahala Elementary School for either Tommy Waters or Trevor Ozawa, with 80 additional ballots were blank. In addition, the data show that 165 people registered to vote at Kahala School (District 19, Precinct 2) voted early and are reported as absentee walk-in votes. And, finally, the data show that 1,890 people mailed in their absentee ballots.

By comparing the results for precincts in different parts of a candidate’s district, it’s relatively simple to see where they were strongest, where they were trounced, and where they were competitive. That kind of information is essential for evaluating the campaign’s efforts and targeting campaign resources in future elections.

What isn’t clear at this point is whether similar data are available but not included in the campaign results posted by city election officials last night, or whether this information is simply lost. There’s nothing on the city’s Elections Division website to indicate that additional data will be forthcoming.

And, further, what data will be reported in future all-mail elections? Is there any technical reasons why these results were stripped of all precinct-level data? …

HNN: Automatic recount bill close to becoming law

read …Details lost in reporting election-by-mail results

Vacation Rentals On Oahu May Face Tough Enforcement And New Limits

CB: … Airbnb says bills before the Honolulu City Council could cause economic damage by suddenly removing many tourist rentals from the market….

One measure, Bill 85, focuses on creating tougher enforcement mechanisms. Among other provisions, it gives citizens the right to go to court and prompt the city to take action against a neighbor operating an illegal short-term rental.

The other measure, Bill 89, is based on a proposal by Mayor Kirk Caldwell. It makes it easier for homeowners to operate “bed and breakfasts” in homes where they live, but cracks down on so-called transient vacation units, or TVUs, which are whole homes rented out by people who don’t live in the property. A Civil Beat analysis of data from Airdna, which provides data for rental operators, found that there were 8,522 active rentals on Oahu in August; 6,842 of those, or 80 percent, were entire homes….

SA Editorial: Get control of home sharing

read … Vacation Rentals On Oahu May Face Tough Enforcement And New Limits

Where Hawaii Renters Spend Half Their Incomes On Housing

CB: … Most renters in Hawaii spend 30% or more of their incomes on housing…

But it’s much bigger cut of their paycheck in many communities. Hawaii renters spend, on average, at least half of their incomes on housing in nearly 10% of the state’s Census block groups.

On Oahu, that includes parts of the North Shore, Waianae and Kalihi. The list also includes pricey neighborhoods like Aina Haina, where residents tend to have relatively high incomes but available rentals can be very expensive.

In just under half of the state’s census blocks, renters on average spend 30% to 49% of their income paying the landlord.

Renters are considered cost-burdened if they spend 30 to 49% of their incomes on rent, and severely cost-burdened if they spend at least 50% of their incomes on rent….

read … Where Hawaii Renters Spend Half Their Incomes On Housing

Kakaako Makai Celebrates Ten Years as Homeless Tent City

KHON: … theft, harassment and vandalism in the past decade ….  A House Concurrent Resolution urges the state and the city to start a task force, develop strategies and a plan that'll assist those on the streets. …  The resolution also asks for a report with recommendations to be submitted 20 days before the next legislative session. It'll be heard by the senate human services committee at the Capitol Monday at 3 p.m….

(Yes!  A task force!  That’s the solution!)

Kauai:  Homeless encampment lies on state DOT land

read … Some are worried about the impact homeless encampments have on a learning center for young children

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