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Developing a Dream DestinationTourism and Tourism Policy Planning in Hawaii$
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James Mak

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832438

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832438.001.0001

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State Tax Policy on Tourism

State Tax Policy on Tourism

(p.80) Chapter Four State Tax Policy on Tourism
Developing a Dream Destination

James Mak

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter analyzes the tax policy on tourism in Hawaii. The state has one of the most centralized fiscal systems among the fifty states, with the lion’s share of the responsibility for providing public services and taxation resting with the State government and not with the counties. While changes to the tax system will always be the frequent debate, this chapter focuses on the tourist tax, which has had its own colorful history of debates. In 1986, a tourist tax—it turned out to be a hotel room tax—was passed by the Hawaii State Legislature, arousing heated debates within the industry. Seldom had it been discussed rationally. The need for a hotel room tax was far less urgent in the early 1960s when Hawaii’s economy was booming and the state’s cupboard was full, however, several factors after 1968 would eventually lead to discussions on tourist taxes.

Keywords:   tourist tax, hotel room tax, State tax policy, tourism tax, taxation, tax system, Hawaiian hotels

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