Hawaii Island News, evening edition, 01 Feb 2019

Welcome to the Friday evening update from “Hawaii News Digest”–Hawaii Island News.  Views expressed in this Hawaii News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.  Content provided by today’s edition of “Hawaii Business Magazine”, published in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Accessed on 02 February 2019, 0150 UTC, Post 18359.

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HAWAI‘I ISLAND
Mayor Kim seeks GET flexibility
Mayor Harry Kim asked state lawmakers in Honolulu on Thursday to grant more flexibility in how counties can use their general excise tax surcharge. Kim said that’s needed to help avoid a budget shortfall. “The whole county budget is in jeopardy,” he said, while addressing a joint meeting of the Senate Ways and Means and House Finance committees. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

County releases draft vacation rental rules
The county Planning Department wants to hear from the public about its proposed rules regulating the rentals on the island. The rules process follows passage of Bill 108 last year, requiring regulation of short-term rentals of property where the owner doesn’t live on-site. Hearings for public feedback are scheduled in February and March. West Hawaii Today.

Number of tourists declined in 2018
Visitor spending remained flat in the wake of the Kilauea eruption. According to year-end data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, all islands but Hawaii saw an increase in visitor arrivals compared to 2017, and while the Big Island did see an increase in visitor spending, that increase was nominal. Tribune-Herald.

Mauna Kea master lease update
An effort to continue astronomy on the summit of Mauna Kea for the next several decades, and how that effort might affect the Thirty Meter Telescope project, was discussed at the State Legislature. Big Island Video News.