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Wednesday, January 29, 2020
HB2728: Diamond Head Attack Becomes Excuse for Tax Hike
By Rep Gene Ward @ 5:03 PM :: 4278 Views :: Law Enforcement, Taxes, Tourism


News Release from Office of Rep Gene Ward, January 28, 2020

HONOLULU, HI – In the midst of an increase in crime and a statewide police shortage, Hawaii State Representative and House Minority Leader Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley) introduces House Bill 2728, which implements a $5 surcharge for all overseas flights except for interisland travel.

The revenue generated by the surcharge will enter the "Blue Lives Matter special fund," which will be used to recruit and retain police officers in each county.

"We're expected to have 10 million visitors this year and Hawaii is facing a dire police shortage, especially in the City & County of Honolulu" says Ward. "The concept of a visitor surcharge is seen around the world, and both Kama'aina and tourists will benefit from the Blue Lives Matter special fund."

As of Jan. 2, the Honolulu Police Department is short 318 officers, with many more eligible for retirement. "It is a tragedy that our residents no longer feel safe in their neighborhoods, and we owe it to our biggest industry to ensure that visitors can stay in the Aloha State without fear of robbery or assault," says Ward. "We are listening to our constituents who are crying for a solution. We hope this will start a broader conversation how to address their needs."

HB 2729 awaits a joint-hearing on the Committees on Labor, Tourism & International Affairs, and Public Safety, Veterans, & Military Affairs.


HB2728: Text, Status

HB2729: Text, Status

SA: Longtime tax critic advocates for a new fee to recruit Hawaii police 

KITV: State lawmaker wants to help HPD recruit and retain officers with surcharge bill


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