Like the missionaries and Dole before them, the WSL takes takes takes!
Thanksgiving is a time, in the United States, when families come together and reflect on their good fortune. Or, if you are the World Surf League, contributes to the age-old plundering of Hawaiian resources.
As first reported here, your favorite professional surfing tour partnered with almost hotel Airbnb last year. The coupling began quietly, names simply interlocking on a step-and-repeat and links back and forth between websites (maybe I never clicked).
This year, though, the relationship is being used to actively screw Hawaii out of much needed tax dollars! An “experience” is being offered by the family of the League’s Regional Manager which promises:
We’ll immerse ourselves in surf culture around the Banzai Pipeline. We’ll meet professional surfers, explore Oahu’s North Shore with locals, and get VIP access to a world-class sporting event.
It sounds absolutely fabulous (sign up here) featuring a BBQ with Kieren Perrow, outer reef jetski exploration, Pipeline VIP tickets, surf lesson with Sunny Garcia and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the local economy!
Hawaii Business recently published a story, Lodgers n’ Tax Dodgers, about the toll that vacation rentals take on a system that relies heavily on hotel tax dollars for education, welfare, roads, hopitals, etc. etc. etc.
$115.6 million in TAT taxes generated by short-term vacation rentals. Use the same calculation for the 4 percent excise tax, and that brings the total to $165.6 million. That theoretically is what should be paid by short-term vacation rentals; the state Taxation Department did not say how much is actually paid, but observers suggest only a fraction of the applicable taxes are collected.
Furthermore, the state collected $420.97 million in TAT in the latest fiscal year; that figure was close to the total we calculated for TAT paid by hotels, condo hotels, timeshares, hostels, apartment hotels and other “traditional” accommodations, indicating there is money missing from other sources.
Does this surprise? That the WSL maybe partakes in dodgy business practices?
But still, on this Thanksgiving holiday, I’m grateful to WSL CEO Paul Speaker for… for… ummm… for being too chicken to ever meet me face to face. Oh how I loathe turkey!