Honolulu not a taxing city to visitors, survey says
Visitors to Honolulu incur the lowest total tax burden in the U.S., according to the National Business Travel Association.
The association studied car rental, hotel and meal taxes in the top 50 U.S. destinations, as determined by the number of air travelers, and we came out on the bottom, making us tops.
The NBTA factors in general sales taxes and "discriminatory travel taxes" on travel service, s which extend beyond general sales taxes.
Hawaii's hotel room tax, officially called the transient accommodations tax, is 7.25 percent. Tack on our excise tax and you've got 11.97 percent. The total tax burden is $21.45 a day.
The NBTA's worst offender in discriminatory travel taxes is Portland, Ore., but it still managed to rank No. 2 behind Honolulu for imposing the lowest overall tax burden on visitors.
Portland doesn't have a general sales tax, said NBTA spokesman Caleb Tiller. However, when it comes to hotel rooms, car rentals and meals, "they target those particular services heavily, relying very heavily on people who are using (them) ... rather than relying on the general populace," he said.
Sirius up in the air
Despite federal approval of the satellite radio merger between Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., it is unclear if either company's programs will beam down to Hawaii.
In November 2006, Sirius filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission, asking ground-based repeaters to introduce its service to Hawaii and Alaska.
Hawaii's repeater, in downtown Honolulu, would be limited to 2,000 watts.
"It is still pending," Patrick Donnelly, Sirius executive vice president and general counsel, said yesterday.
The National Association of Broadcasters, along with the Hawaii and Alaska broadcasters' associations, filed a petition to deny the application with the FCC in March 2007. Sirius countered and the broadcasters rebutted the next month.
Donnelly could not say whether the now-solo satcaster has more plans for Hawaii.
One of the FCC's conditions for approving the merger would have the satcaster apply to serve to Puerto Rico via terrestrial repeaters. There was no mention of Hawaii or Alaska.
The satcaster is also prohibited from providing local content in radio markets and from making agreements that would bar a local station from carrying live local sporting events.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com