$50 Hawaii Green Fee Dead | What’s Hawaii Next Plan?

We said a month ago that the much-touted, governor-endorsed, visitor-unpopular green (or Green – referring to Governor Green) fee would not pass. That was confirmed yesterday when all efforts to sustain it failed in the Hawaii State Legislature and the measure sank.

Controversial green fee proponent Hawaii House Tourism head Sean Quinlan was disappointed and said the bill failed not on its own merits but rather on the legislature’s last-ditch efforts to complete as many other bills as possible. Whether that’s the reality isn’t yet clear. In the end, the bill simply failed. Die-hard Quinlan said he would not give up on his efforts, however.

The notion of the $50 “visitor impact” fee, as it was euphemistically referred to by supporters, and a key element of Governor Josh Green’s successful gubernatorial campaign, morphed in various ways.

First, the governor wanted to have a blanket tax on the arrival of all visitors.

Those $50 per head fees were to have been paid by visitors through airlines or accommodations. That prospect was likely unconstitutional, among other problems, which saw the governor pull back from his implementation concept.

Then the fee was transformed into a charge that the state would implement on the use of any state parks or other facilities by visitors. That was vague at best and problematic regarding whether it could be effectively implemented on ten million annual visitors. That was going to be paid for by visitors whenever they visited state-controlled parks, beaches, or trails. What was envisioned was a permit or license that would be acquired either online or through physical locations.

State DLNR supported yet failed to convince the legislature regarding the $50 green fee.

DLNR was another proponent of the Hawaii green fee and also proposed the creation of grants to fund nonprofits to support the effort in some way. DLNR compared Hawaii with other tourist destinations needing resource preservation, such as New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, and the Republic of Pilau. Those, however, are countries rather than states within a country, among other differences.

The state DLNR failed to assure the legislature that it could enforce the fee, even by hiring the planned additional staff.

With the Green fee gone, what other Hawaii visitor fees/reservations should you prepare for?

Specific rules, fees, and reservations will continue to be associated with some state parks, and the number of parks with such regulations will undoubtedly continue to grow. Notable parks with fees in effect include the following:

  • Diamond Head State Monument
  • Hanauma Bay State Park
  • Wainapanapa State Park
  • Haena State Park.

The latest state park to add visitor fees and reservations just this month is The Iao Valley State Monument on Maui. We also wondered whether Polihale State Park on Kauai might be one of the next fee and reservation additions.

Hawaii visitors and residents questioned the state’s squandering of money.

There was well-intended planning for earmarking the money collected to preserve the state’s natural resources. At the same time, Hawaii is infamous for such money never reaching its intended goals.

Visitors naturally wonder where the highest accommodation tax in the country goes. It certainly isn’t apparent in the woefully lacking Hawaii infrastructure.

Not only that, but there is outrage among visitors and residents about how the state is failing to maintain its infrastructure, including public roads, parks, and restrooms.

The green fee is “pau.” What did it accomplish? It merely drove another wedge between Hawaii and its visitors.

Visitors complained bitterly about being unfairly charged the $50 fee after being subjected to the most expensive accommodation taxes in the U.S.

We welcome your input on the $50 green fee and preserving Hawaii’s natural resources.

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41 thoughts on “$50 Hawaii Green Fee Dead | What’s Hawaii Next Plan?”

  1. As long as Hawaii is yet charging the $30.00 plus dollar a day for taxes on a rental car, when I brought my family to Hawaii, in order to get my family around the Island I ended up needing to rent three vehicles that was close to an additional rental car amount. If I had to charter a small bus I bet that would of been even higher in cost, and the tour bus like the one for the culture center with it’s few stops with a tour guide is just as bad.

  2. We have been going to Maui for the last 4 yrs with another couple.
    We absolutely love Maui, but your never ending taxes and increases will be driving us to other places. We are not made of money; sadly only the rich will be able to afford Hawaii. If any of the monies collected would go to the people of Lahaina that would be totally accepted, but we know it will not go there.

  3. I would gladly pay a $50 visitor fee, if it would ensure keeping Hawaii clean and beautiful! My issue is the fear that monies would not be used in an appropriate manner.
    On our last visit the state park had printed guide brochures twenty years out date. Markers missing, trees listed in the brochure, rotted away.
    If it is this way st one park, what is happening at the others? Mahalo!

  4. 1) Add 3% to the purchase price of homes and condos sales for anyone born off island.
    2)Get an independent agency to review all local government agencies to root out nepotism and wasteful spending of tourist generated taxes and fees.


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