Thank you to all those that submitted testimony for the state legislature special session. We are happy to report that we did make a difference. Majority leader of the House, Cindy Evans, throughout the entire process was charged with making sure the votes for passing the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) were there. She did her political job. She got the votes, and in turn, turned her back on her Big Island communities. At the very end, she announced that she couldn’t finish her obligation. She has offered her resignation as majority leader. Too little, too late.
How did we affect the outcome? We sent out a press release and letter to the editor pointing out her out-of-touch handling of the issue which reinforced the community’s opposition to this bill. This added pressure for not voting for the bill. We encouraged community members to call our representatives and senators, and recommended that they vote “no” on the TAT bill (SB4).
In fact, no sitting legislator representing the Big Island offered any outreach to the community. No explanations, no information. They completely relied on the media to tell their side of the story, most of it after the vote.
After seeing severe backlash from Big Island communities, all West Hawaii representatives eventually voted “no”. This included Representative Evans, but the damage had been done already at that point. Even her primary challenger voiced his dissent with the Hawaii state Democratic majority.
However, still something didn’t seem right as Lee Cataluna of the Star Advertiser wrote in her column on 09/03/2017 pg. B3. “Meanwhile, legislative leadership seemed to have brokered deals so some of the island politicians could save face at home. Dissenters were allowed to make their speeches, huff and puff, call it an outrage while all along votes were secure.”
Supporting taxes again have shown just how flawed our community legislators agendas have been. We need new representation in the 7th district. We need someone involved and living in the community, who knows you and your neighbors and is there to give you a hand and stand for the principles of the community. Someone who will not bend and compromise these community principles of trust and honesty. And this leader is Jeff Coakley.