LIHUE — Governor David Ige closed churches, clubs, theaters and bars statewide on Tuesday, limited restaurants to drive-through, take-out, pick-up or delivery only and limited social gatherings to 10 people or less to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Senate Bill 2696, which the Senate has just given to the House for consideration, is a bill “Relating to Green Fees.” These green fees have nothing to do with playing golf, however; they are per visitor, per stay charges the money from which goes to protect and preserve the environment. Some national governments already charge them, including the Republic of Palau, New Zealand, and the Maldives. So, SB 2696 is calling for a feasibility study and implementation plan, assuming that the fee will be charged beginning in 2022.
Some of the bills making their way through our Legislature are sponsored by executive departments. One such department, the Department of Taxation, is behind a few of them. One of them worth mentioning, introduced as SB2922 and HB2366, proposes to change some criminal penalties in our transient accommodations tax (TAT) law to civil fines … and “to make various technical amendments,” as the bill summary states.
Joan Porter, the co-founder of the Anaina Hou Community Park in Kilauea, has penned an open letter to the community warning that the multimillion-dollar philanthropy from her and her late husband, Bill Porter, which built the park in 2009 and has kept it open ever since, is coming to an end. She asks the community to respond financially to ensure the facility will survive.
We have occasionally written about a “carbon tax,” something environmentalists appear to be supporting enthusiastically. The basic idea behind one is that a tax is placed upon the purchase of all fuels that result in carbon emissions when the fuel is burned to release energy. The amount of the tax is based on the type of fuel and is priced to be a certain dollar amount per metric ton of carbon emitted into our atmosphere.
This year’s Legislature has produced some unique proposed solutions to deal with our housing crisis.