Testimony needed: Support SB 301 SD1 (REITs taxation bill)

SUBMIT TESTIMONY ASAP to SUPPORT SB 301 SD1 (REITs taxation bill). REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) do a significant amount of business in Hawaii: REITs own approximately $17 billion worth of Hawaii real estate and earn about $1 billion in profits every year. Because of a loophole in state income tax law, Hawaii loses an estimated $60 million in potential tax revenue every year. This money could be used to support a number of different things that would benefit Hawaii’s working families, like affordable housing and more.

It only takes a few minutes to submit testimony to the House Committee on Economic Development & Business using the form below:

This action has expired and the email form is no longer available.

Testimony needed: Oppose SB 666 SD2 (Airport Corporation bill) with amendments

SUBMIT TESTIMONY ASAP to OPPOSE SB 666 SD2 (Airports Corporation bill) with amendments. We are concerned about how establishing an Airports Corporation would impact the future of people working at the airports. However, with the right language, SB 666 can be a means to protect working people throughout the airport system, help their jobs become good jobs, protect airport system revenues, protect the tourism industry, and protect the image of our state.

It only takes a few minutes to submit testimony to the House Committee on Transportation using the form below:

This action has expired and the email form is no longer available.

Several bills re: minimum wage scheduled for hearing on Thu. 1/31

Several bills re: minimum wage are scheduled for hearing this Thu. 1/30. For many years, we’ve supported raising the minimum wage. One job should be enough to live in Hawaii.
 
Let’s make it very clear that these bills need to be amended to provide a real living wage immediately that will make one job enough. Amendments we support:
  • No more exceptions or exemptions or tax breaks or subsidies for low-wage companies – the minimum wage should be the minimum wage for all workers, for all employers.
  • Eliminate the so-called “tip credit”, which employers currently use to pay tipped workers even less than minimum wage.
  • Immediately begin increasing minimum wage annually.
  • From now on, tie the annual minimum wage increase to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase, which is used to measure inflation. 18 other states already have automatic cost of living adjustments to their minimum wages.
 
Visit Raise Up Hawaii’s website to submit testimony supporting these bills (links below). Submit testimony before Wed. 1/30 at 3pm:
Support SB1248 with amendments: https://bit.ly/2G7EUwp
Support SB789 with amendments: https://bit.ly/2Th1QNo
Support HB1191 with amendments: https://bit.ly/2Se83MF
Comments on HB96: https://bit.ly/2FVLtms

TESTIMONY NEEDED: Support Bill 85, the only bill that sensibly enforces vacation rentals

Tomorrow (Wed. 12/5), Honolulu City Council will be hearing several bills re: vacation rentals and monster homes.

Both issues are closely connected and have negative impacts on affordable housing. Vacation rentals take away what little affordable housing is left in Hawaii, renting it out short-term to tourists instead. Monster homes are often used as illegal vacation rentals.

We strongly support Bill 85 because we need strong enforcement of vacation rentals before we can open up a permitting process. A necessary part of this is holding platforms like Airbnb accountable and making sure they’re transparent with their data on their hosts and listings. The other vacation rental bills fall short of this.

SUBMIT TESTIMONY to support BILL 85 and oppose the other vacation rental bills using our email form below.

Our ally, HI Good Neighbor, recommends supporting all of the bills re: monster homes (see below). They have an email form that you can use to submit testimony supporting Bill 85, as well as the monster home bills (visit our website for details). You can submit testimony supporting Bills 79 CD1, 84, 85, and 91 using their email form.

Re: vacation rentals:

  • Bill 85 – SUPPORT
    • Requires platforms like Airbnb to file regular reports that will help with enforcement
    • Allows neighbors to take civil action against a neighbor who is violating vacation rental rules
    • Allocates money and all fines to go toward enforcement
  • Bill 86 – OPPOSE
  • Bill 87 – OPPOSE
  • Bill 88 – OPPOSE
  • Bill 89 (aka Mayor’s omnibus bill) – OPPOSE
  • Bill 90 – OPPOSE

Re: monster homes: (recommendations from HI Good Neighbor)

  • Bill 79 CD1 – SUPPORT
    • Will change our zoning laws to greatly limit monster apartment homes
    • Limits FAR/size of house, bathrooms, “wet bars” converted to illegal kitchens
    • Limits impervious surfaces to minimize flooding and other environmental impacts
  • Bill 84 – SUPPORT
    • Seeks to require payment of outstanding fines before permit issued
  • Bill 91 – SUPPORT
    • Provides enforcement tool by making it a misdemeanor for lying to an inspector/city official

This action has expired and the email form is no longer available.

Submit testimony for 9/19 Honolulu Planning Commission hearing re: vacation rentals

On September 5, the Honolulu Planning Commission heard several bills re: vacation rentals and decided to hold another meeting to hear more public testimony. Their next hearing will be on Wed. 9/19 at 1:30pm at the Mission Memorial Auditorium (550 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii).

Submit testimony by Mon. 9/17 to stand up for affordable housing by emailing [email protected] or using our email form below. If you already submitted testimony for the 9/5 hearing, spread the word to your family and friends and ask them to submit testimony.

We urge you to do the following:

  • Support Res. 17-52, CD1. You may remember that AiKea organized to pass Res. 17-52 CD1 last November. We believe that Res. 17-52 CD1 would do the best job in enforcing illegal vacation rentals and protecting our affordable housing.
  • Oppose Agenda Item 2. AKA the Mayor’s omnibus bill.
    • We urge you to oppose this bill because it does nothing to hold platforms like Airbnb accountable, which will make enforcement difficult if not impossible.
    • The omnibus bill would also allow an unlimited number of B&Bs (owner-occupied short-term rentals). Keep it Kailua estimates that there are 175,000 housing units on Oahu that could qualify to get a B&B permit. We don’t have a problem with local residents who need to rent out part of their home to make ends meet, but allowing an unlimited number of these rentals is irresponsible and will hurt our local rental market.

This action has expired and the email form is no longer available.

Testimony needed: Tell Airbnb and our legislators that we need affordable housing

The Honolulu Planning Commission will be hearing several bills re: vacation rentals on Wed. 9/5 at 1:30p at the Mission Memorial Auditorium (550 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii).

Submit testimony by Mon. 9/3 to stand up for affordable housing by emailing [email protected] or using our email form below. We urge you to do the following:

  • Support Res. 17-52, CD1. You may remember that AiKea organized to pass Res. 17-52 CD1 last November. We believe that Res. 17-52 CD1 would do the best job in enforcing illegal vacation rentals and protecting our affordable housing.
  • Oppose Agenda Item 2. AKA the Mayor’s omnibus bill.
    • We urge you to oppose this bill because it does nothing to hold platforms like Airbnb accountable, which will make enforcement difficult if not impossible.
    • The omnibus bill would also allow an unlimited number of B&Bs (owner-occupied short-term rentals). Keep it Kailua estimates that there are 175,000 housing units on Oahu that could qualify to get a B&B permit. We don’t have a problem with local residents who need to rent out part of their home to make ends meet, but allowing an unlimited number of these rentals is irresponsible and will hurt our local rental market.

This action has expired and the email form is no longer available.

Testimony needed: Oppose Bills 51 & 52, stop criminalizing our houseless community

TESTIMONY NEEDED: Oppose Bill 51 and Bill 52 which criminalize our houseless community. Honolulu City Council’s Public Works, Infrastructure and Sustainability Committee will be hearing the bills next Wednesday, 7/25 at 1pm.
Both bills are awful, but Bill 52 is so broad that it could criminalize anything anyone does on sidewalks or other public property. It would give police officers unbridled discretion to make any activity illegal and then prosecute people for that activity.
Submit testimony opposing the bills here: http://www.honolulu.gov/ccl-testimony-form.html.

 

Big Island residents: OPPOSE Bill 108 to protect affordable housing

Hawaii County Council’s Committee on Planning will be hearing Bill 108 Draft 3 on Tuesday, July 10 at 10:30am at Hawai’i County Building (25 Aupuni St. Hilo, HI). Bill 108 Draft 3 is a bad bill that needs to be opposed to protect our affordable housing from being turned into vacation rentals (aka short-term rentals, or STRs).

Submit written or video testimony before Monday, July 9 at 12:00pm by emailing [email protected]. Click here for more details on submitting testimony.

Here are some reasons why we are opposing Bill 108 Draft 3:

  • The bill defines a short-term rental (STR) as “a dwelling unit of which the owner or operator does not reside on the building site, that has no more than five bedrooms for rent on the building site, and is rented for a period of thirty consecutive days or less. This definition shall not apply to the short-term use of an owner’ s primary residence as defined under the Internal Revenue Code.” (emphasis added)
    • This means if the owner resides in the same building, it is not even considered an STR and is not regulated at all. Proving how much time the owner actually spends in the building is essentially impossible, meaning as long as the owner claims this as the legal residence, the building is exempt no matter how many units it offers. A very big loophole.
    • This also means buildings with more than five bedrooms are not STRs and therefore have no regulations.
  • The bill doesn’t mention anything about rental services or platforms like Airbnb, which advertise STRs. These services should be required to file reports of the units they list in order to effectively enforce any vacation rental regulations.
  • It does not include any penalties for those who would violate this new law.
  • It does not allow private enforcement, such as allowing neighbors to file complaints or take private actions

Tell legislators: don’t let Airbnb off the hook!

AiKea and other affordable housing advocates support HB2605 HD2 SD2 because it holds illegal vacation rental operators more accountable. Vacation rentals are taking away what little affordable housing is left in Hawai’i.

HB2605 HD2 SD2 is currently in the House-Senate Conference Committee. Tell them to SUPPORT HB2605 HD2 SD2 and move it forward. Please take a minute to email the conferees, especially if they are your representative/senator.

Use the form below to easily send them an email.

The conferees are:

  • Senate:
    • Glenn Wakai (586-8585)
    • Clarence Nishihara (586-6970)
    • Gil Keith-Agaran (586-7344)
  • House:
    • Richard Onishi (586-6120)
    • Scott Nishimoto (586-8515)
    • Sylvia Luke (586-6200)
    • Ty Cullen (586-8490)
    • Bob McDermott (586-9730)
    • Troy Hashimoto (586-9444)

This action has expired and the email form is no longer available.

Tell legislators to move SB2963 SD 199 forward to protect our affordable housing

Earlier this week, the Senate Ways and Means (WAM) & Economic Development, Tourism, and Technology (ETT) Committees heard SB 2999 – a decent bill that would take several important steps in addressing illegal vacation rentals and their negative impact on housing for locals.

AiKea and other affordable housing advocates supported SB 2999, but it was deferred to another hearing on Monday. Just yesterday, another bill surfaced with its original language being gutted and replaced with much of the same language found in SB 2999.

The new bill, SB 2963 SD1, still includes important provisions that would increase the counties’ abilities to enforce illegal vacation rentals.  The Senate Committees will be hearing the new bill TOMORROW: Monday, February 5th at 9:55 a.m.  Please take the time to send in testimony supporting SB 2963 SD1 now.

Airbnb and its hosts oppose these bills. Including a “co-host” from California who is paid to fly to Hawai’i to host other people’s vacation rentals, located in neighborhoods like Aiea and Kapolei.

BEWARE: there are over 30 bills re: vacation rentals this legislative session. Any one of them can be gutted and replaced with the bad bills that Airbnb has been trying to pass for the past 2 years. We must be vigilant and let the legislators know that we’re watching.

Send an email to the WAM and ETT committees: encourage them to move SB2963 SD 1 forward. It will only take a minute to send an email using this form on our website:

This action has expired and the email form is no longer available.