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Hawaii Tourism Authority Budget: Misinformation, devastating, favorism..

Hawaii Tourism Authority Budget: Misinformation, devastating, favorism..

eTurboNews -

After many years of negative State audits, the 2018 audit of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) was described as “scathing” and highlighted specific insider deals, favoritism, non-bid contracts and a glaring lack of board oversight at the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Push finally come to shove with the introduction of companion House and Senate bills with the House version becoming the vehicle. A recent Senate Draft 2 was heard and passed today (Tuesday) by the full Senate and makes severe budget cuts. The Senate amendment will send the legislation to a conference committee which is expected to be contentious. The conference committee will meet “after April 12th and before April 26th.”

The new Senate draft would reallocate as much as 40 percent of HTA’s share of hotel “transient accommodations taxes” (TAT) to other state agencies. HTA receives $108.5 million in transient accommodations taxes from the state Legislature each year with $26.5 million of it earmarked for the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

In a preemptive media release sent on Monday (below), HTA President and CEO George Szigeti attempted to justify keeping the full budget:

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