How Hawaii’s budget woes are putting pressure on tourism destination travel hawaiiamongaboard
A proposed budget that would reduce state funding for Hawaii’s tourism industry and reduce state aid to Hawaii’s largest tourism employer, Hawaii Island Resort and Spa, has been blocked by the legislature.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Richard Pan, R-Hilo, would eliminate the state’s tourism assistance program and replace it with a “bail-in” program for the tourism industry, which would provide only a few weeks of funding.
The proposed legislation would also eliminate the Hawaii Tourism Investment Corporation, which provides funding to tourism companies.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources would remain in place.
Pan said he would introduce a revised version of the bill next week.
He says he will not seek re-election in 2018, which could leave Hawaii’s state budget vulnerable in 2018.
The legislation, called the “Hawaii Tourism Improvement and Access Act,” was approved in the Senate and passed the House in a 3-2 vote on Thursday.
But after a heated debate on Tuesday, the bill was removed from consideration and the Senate has scheduled a special session on the bill to debate it.
Pan’s proposal was originally approved in 2017, but it has been removed from the governor’s desk.
It was also proposed to be included in a statewide transportation plan and would have allowed the state to fund the construction of the state-owned airport at Kahala.
Pan, who is seeking re-inauguration as governor in 2018 after a term that saw the legislature pass his legislation and then-Gov.
David Ige’s transportation plan, said the bill will give Hawaii a “competitive advantage” in attracting visitors to the island.
Pan also said the state will lose $20 million in state revenue, including state income tax revenue, because of the measure.
The revenue will be recovered through a property tax increase.
Hawaii is a major source of state revenue and tourism income.
The islands have more than $15 billion in hotel room tax revenue from the state, according to the Hawaii Department of Revenue.
The state’s budget is set to be reviewed in early 2018.