Hawaii’s legislature is considering a “green fee” for tourists that would go toward environmental conservation efforts in the state.
House Bill 442 would require non-state residents to pay for a $50 license to visit state-owned beaches, parks, forests and hiking trails. The license would expire after one year.
“Our residents have been clear. Visitors should be paying for their impact on our natural resources,” Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi said in a floor speech last week, according to a joint report by USA Today and the Honolulu Civil Beat. “When they are a guest in our house, they should treat our home like they would hope we treat their home when we visit.”
Newly inaugurated Gov. Josh Green also campaigned on creating a “climate impact fee” that would cost tourists about $50 when they enter the state. The governor projected that it would raise $500 to $600 million per year.
But the Tax Foundation of Hawaii has argued that a state fee might violate a part of the U.S. Constitution that bars states from discriminating against out-of-state visitors, according to USA Today.
The proposal has supporters and detractors among island residents. A resident who moved from Maryland told KHON, “Hawaii is already green, it’s one of the most beautiful places to live in the world!”
Hugh Fraser, a tourist visiting from Vancouver, Canada, told the station that he was in favor of the idea.
“I personally would because I use all of those things and again, I’m here for a month, I would easily pay $50 to be able to access all of the beautiful beaches and things you have here,” Mr. Fraser said.
Hawaii’s House Committee on Tourism recommended that the bill be deferred last Thursday, meaning that the bill will be given more time for consideration and possible amendments.