Editorial Calls for Amending Hawaii Rental Car Tax

A new $1-per-day rental car tax doesn't help a visitor industry facing drops in arrivals, according to an editorial in the Honolulu Star Bulletin.

The tax, expected to collect about $25 million in less than three years, is billed as a way to finance consolidated rental car facilities at Hawaii airports. But the editorial states that the $25 million falls far short of what such facilities cost at other airports. That leads to questions about whether a higher rate will follow.

The measure instituting the new tax also extended for three more years a $3 daily rental motor vehicle surcharge that was to have decreased to $2 this year. The editorial states that the measure also is vague about the facilities projects themselves, which airports would get them and when.

Integrated facilities with shuttles and other services would be positive for visitors and rental car companies, but legislators need to tighten up the law to direct funds to the projects at which the tax is aimed, the Star Bulletin editorial states.

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