- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii lawmakers may create a group to develop a way to collect data on how vacation rentals affect Hawaii’s tax revenue, housing supply and brand as a visitor destination.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Monday passed a bill to set up the group made up of industry and government officials. The measure next goes to the full Senate for a vote.

The legislation says the state is losing tax revenue as some owners and operators of short-term rentals are not paying transient accommodations taxes and general excise taxes.

It says counties are losing revenue when vacation rental owners receive homeowner discounts on property taxes.

The legislation says some of the units rented to visitors could be rented to residents, helping alleviate Hawaii’s affordable housing crisis.

The bill calls on the group to establish a way for state and county governments to monitor the number of units being offered to visitors on a part-time and full-time basis. It also asks the group to identify how vacation rentals are affecting real estate markets, the availability of long-term rentals, rent and property taxes.

The working group would include representatives from the state tax department, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, hotel industry, licensed short-term rental operators and short-term rental websites. They would submit their findings to lawmakers shortly before the next legislative session.

Vacation rental operator associations submitted testimony in support of the bill.

The ILWU Local 142, which represents many Hawaii hotel workers, submitted testimony saying adequate financial resources for the working group would help in the gathering of accurate data and assessing the industry’s impact.

The bill doesn’t indicate how much money would be allocated for the working group.

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