2016.02.11 Hidden Cost of Hidden HotelsHB1850 HD1 has crossed over to the Senate floor and it already has another hearing coming up on Thursday, March 17 at 9:30a at the State Capitol Conference Room 229. This bill will allow companies like Airbnb, which advertises vacation rentals, to shield themselves and illegal vacation rental operators using their services from regulatory scrutiny by collecting taxes from them and giving them to the state without telling the state who the taxes came from.

We’ve told you in past emails why we strongly oppose these bills and how illegal vacation rentals negatively impact us. In addition, we have these serious concerns:

  • Rep. Sylvia Luke, the House Finance Committee Chair, amended HB1850 to add this language to the bill which could undermine county efforts to enforce vacation rentals by making it optional for companies like Airbnb to make sure their listings follow local laws.
  • Both bills reference that HRS §237-9 already allows private individuals to register as tax collection agents for multi-level marketing. Multi-level marketers are required to provide a list of names for all individual direct sellers for who they are remitting taxes. HB1850 HD1 would NOT require companies like Airbnb to disclose information on their hosts. Why does Airbnb get special treatment, especially when it is clear that many of their hosts are operating illegally? 

Tell corporations like Airbnb to SHARE BETTER!

Please submit testimony to the Senate’s Tourism and International Affairs Committee and the Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health Committee to OPPOSE HB1850 HD1. If you can testify in person at the hearing, please do! Here are updated talking points (PDF) and a fact sheet (PDF) if you need more information. You can resubmit old testimony as well.

To submit testimony, sign in at capitol.hawaii.gov, click on Submit Testimony and enter the bill number (HB1850). You can submit full written testimony, fill out the web form with comments, or testify in person. Don’t have an account? Email [email protected] and [email protected]. Please try to submit by Wednesday, March 16, 9:30 am if possible, but late testimony still helps!