Timeshare Property Tax Rate Dominates Lahaina Budget Hearing

A hearing was held on April 13, 2011, in Lahaina, Hawaii, regarding a time share property tax proposed by Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Over 200 were in attendance at the Maui County Council’s Budget and Finance Committee’s hearing, as reported by the online news source LahainaNews. Many, including representatives of time share resorts, were there to show support for those who opposed the Timeshare Property Tax increase of $14 to $19.60 per $1,000 in value.

Daniel Dinnell spoke on behalf of ARDA-Hawaii, the local chapter of the American Resort Development Association, a national timeshare association comprised of 20 local members with 45 properties statewide and 22 in Maui.

“As ARDA-Hawaii has previously testified, following a 69 percent increase to the real property tax in 2005, the timeshare industry is again being singled out with the largest single increase of $5.60," Dinnell said.

Representing Marriott’s Maui Ocean Resort Club on Maui, Rob Welch said, “Our timeshare owners are already heavily burdened with the highest property tax rate at $14 per $1,000. An increase of 40 percent, to $19.60, will have an immediate negative impact to our owners and our associates."

“Our resort employs a staff of 480 local residents - in 2010, the total payroll, including benefits and taxes, were over $30 million; money spent in our local economy,” Welch also pointed out.

Gregg Lundberg, general manager of The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, noted, “It’s important for all of us to realize that these {timeshare}owners stand to be tremendously impacted by the outcome of your deliberations and can no longer sit idly by as they are seemingly taken advantage of, because they are not Hawaii residents.”

Michelle Rose Abad, a graduate of the School of Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawaii, spoke in support of those opposing the timeshare property tax proposal. “I feel that increasing the Timeshare Property Tax as part of the 2012 budget will hurt the growth of the positive benefits that ownership brings to all of us here on Maui," she said.

"It will force our current owners to sell or foreclose on their timeshares. The effects, in turn, will place our employment, our health benefits, our retirement benefits and everything else that allows us to maintain a comfortable lifestyle on Maui in jeopardy.”

"This battle will not be settled until the council adopts its final version of the budget, but the administration’s statement appears to signal that there may be room for compromise," concluded the LahainaNews report.

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