Sur­charge bill that sparked back­lash dies in com­mit­tee

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - LOCAL -

A bill to gen­er­ate school fund­ing through a sur­charge on in­vest­ment prop­er­ties and vis­i­tor ac­com­mo­da­tions has died.

Se­nate Bill 683 would have asked vot­ers to ap­prove a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment to cre­ate an “ed­u­ca­tion sur­charge” on time­shares, ho­tel rooms and other va­ca­tion units.

The Hawaii State Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, which had ad­vo­cated for the pro­posal, said it could gen­er­ate about $500 mil­lion to fund pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion.

The mea­sure died in the House and Se­nate Con­fer­ence Com­mit­tee Thurs­day.

Rep. Justin Wood­son, a Maui Demo­crat who chairs the House Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mit­tee, said in a news re­lease Thurs­day the bill was “fun­da­men­tally flawed and open to se­ri­ous le­gal chal­lenges.”

“We tried to fix it but con­cluded that it could not be prop­erly done this ses­sion, and we did not want to set it up for fail­ure,” Wood­son said, adding the bill could be re­vis­ited next year.

The bill had also gar­nered back­lash from peo­ple in Hawaii Is­land’s vis­i­tor in­dus­try who wor­ried it could ham­per tourism.

Jasper Moore, owner of Lo­tus Gar­den in down­town Hilo, said last week his busi­ness took a hit sev­eral years ago when the state last upped taxes for vis­i­tors.

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