BUDGET CHAIR HOPES TO HOLD ON TO TAT REVENUES

March 31, 2009, 12:45 PM HST · Updated April 1, 11:58 AM
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About 200 people showed up for a budget hearing in Lahaina last night, with about 50 of those in attendance, coming forward to testify.

West Maui residents asked for increased funding for road repairs, help to reduce rising property taxes rates, and continued funding for social service agencies that are experiencing an increase in clientele amid a downturn in the economy.

Dozens of senior citizens came out in support of Maui Economic Opportunity and funding requests to increase the Villager Route from every hour to every half hour for West Side residents who use public transportation. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Dozens of senior citizens came out in support of Maui Economic Opportunity and funding requests to increase the Villager Route from every hour to every half hour for West Side residents who use public transportation. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The Maui Council Budget Committee visited the Lahaina Civic Center last night to hear testimony from West Side residents. Further meetings are planned in Kihei, Pukalani, Hana and Lanai. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The Maui Council Budget Committee visited the Lahaina Civic Center last night to hear testimony from West Side residents. Further meetings are planned in Kihei, Pukalani, Hana and Lanai. Photo by Wendy Osher.

During the hearing, Budget Chair Joe Pontanilla urged those seeking county funds to testify against a bill that seeks to suspend distribution of the TAT or transient accommodations tax revenues to the counties.  If measure gained passage, Pontanilla said Maui County would lose $18 million in the first year alone.

“What they are talking about is suspending the transient accommodation tax to Maui County for six years.  Maui County would stand to lose a lot of money, which in turn would affect non-profits that provide services to our county,” said Pontanilla.

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House bill 1744 has since been deferred by the Senate Ways and Means Committee.  The committee is up against an April 9th deadline for second decking in order for the measure to advance.

The council on Maui meantime, continues its budget hearing schedule with a meeting set for 6 o’clock tonight (Tuesday, March 31, 2009) at the Kihei Community Center and 6:30 tomorrow night (Wednesday, April 1, 2009) at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani.

Next week, the council committee heads to Hana and Lanai.   The Hana meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, April 6th at Helene Hall.  And the Lanai meeting is slated to get underway at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 9th at the Lanai High and Elementary School Cafeteria.

(Posted by Wendy OSHER © 2009)

Budget Chair Joe Pontanilla speaks out against a proposal in the State Legislature to temporarily suspend transient accommodation tax revenues to the counties. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Budget Chair Joe Pontanilla speaks out against a proposal in the State Legislature to temporarily suspend transient accommodation tax revenues to the counties. Photo by Wendy Osher.

An estimated 200 people showed up for the Budget hearing in Lahaina, with about 50 in attendance actually testifying. Photo by Wendy Osher.

An estimated 200 people showed up for the Budget hearing in Lahaina, with about 50 in attendance actually testifying. The next meeting will be held tonight in Kihei. Photo by Wendy Osher.

West Maui residents speak in support of funding for MEO programs including those that expand transportation options, and benefit non-profit and social service agencies. Photo by Wendy Osher.

West Maui residents speak in support of funding for MEO programs including those that expand transportation options, and benefit non-profit and social service agencies. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Program facilitators from the Boys and Girls Club of Maui addressed members of the Budget Committee in hopes of maintaining funding for youth programs. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Program facilitators from the Boys and Girls Club of Maui addressed members of the Budget Committee in hopes of maintaining funding for youth programs. Photo by Wendy Osher.

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