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How Will Maui Tax Hike Proposal Be Received?

A meeting we’ll be attending later today will address a bill to increase Maui’s general excise tax. The proposed tax rate will bring Maui to 4.5% instead of the current 4% tax. Maui has been the only county to not have a local GET surcharge. It is reported that Maui County actually didn’t have a GET (general excise tax) surcharge because it missed the prior adoption deadline. As a result, the uses for the extra money will be limited to housing-related infrastructure, whereas the other counties are also able to use the money for roads and public transportation.

For a Hawaii family vacation, the change will add another $5 per thousand dollars spent, including hotels, restaurants, activities, groceries, gas, etc. The money is intended for infrastructure, including housing, a new wastewater system, and some sidewalks, among other things.

The Hawaii GET is somewhat like a sales tax, albeit more challenging and complicated. It is applied to virtually everything in Hawaii, including food, prescriptions, and more. This comes as the state decided to let counties use a 1/2% surcharge added to the state’s 4% tax for specific housing infrastructure. Maui County believes that the measure will bring in an additional $400M in the next five years, coming to a significant degree from visitor spending.

One Councilmember said that it’s a way to reduce home costs “By paying for infrastructure that’s needed and it helps the homeless. If developers foot the bill, housing costs would go up.”

We’re not totally following that, but we’ll attend the meeting and learn more. Maui’s Finance Director said that it could cost each Maui resident, on average, $370 per year extra.

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is opposed to the tax increase and said that, as a result, housing costs will increase and be harmful. They believe that it would result in at least 200 jobs being lost. Others fear that the money may not directly benefit those residents for whom it is intended across the county’s three islands, Maui, Lanai, and Molokai. Some even fear it could benefit the megahomes of the rich and famous, rather than working families.

If Bill 49 is passed after today’s meeting (see agenda below), the increase is set to go into effect on January 1, 2024.



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8 thoughts on “How Will Maui Tax Hike Proposal Be Received?”

  1. Last year when I checked in at my time share in Maui I was surprised with the additional charge of $24 per night. The charge was listed as “Maui timeshare tax”. The county has found another source of income.

  2. Why don’t they just openly admit, and be honest, that they do not like visitors/tourists.
    The law makers are constantly coming up with new ways to discourage tourism. I can’t recall any articles where the city managers actually have put forth any proposals to try to encourage people to visit
    the island. If nobody were to come, then their problems would be solved. They would not have to look at us or deal with “these horrible tourist” and our horrible ways.

  3. Another increased cost, another reason to vacation somewhere else. We loved it but won’t go back because of the costs and cool reception

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