State briefs for October 2

Counties appeal denial of challenge to amendment

HONOLULU — Four Hawaii counties filed an appeal of a ruling denying their challenge to a proposed constitutional amendment that asks voters to allow state lawmakers to impose real property taxes for public education.

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Circuit Judge Jeff Crabtree earlier this month denied the counties’ initial request to stop the proposal from going on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The counties argue that the proposed amendment would erode the only source of tax income they are allowed by the state. They are seeking to invalidate the ballot question, arguing that the language is vague, unclear and misleading.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, among the proposal’s biggest supporters, says it could generate between $200 million and $400 million per year.

Report: Hotels see occupancy drop last month

HONOLULU — Hotel occupancy dipped last month throughout Hawaii, but room revenues increased slightly, according to a state tourism report.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority report on hotel performance shows occupancy was just above 78 percent, falling by nearly 3 percentage points last month.

The average daily room rate throughout the state increased by more than 4 percent to $282, according to the report. The revenue per available room increased by nearly 1 percent to $220. Revenue per available room is the money a hotel makes on every room regardless if it’s occupied.

Hawaii hotels have reported strong revenue numbers since the year’s start, but those figures were largely built on the first five months of the year — before the effects of the Kilauea volcano eruption in lower Puna, said Jennifer Chun, HTA’s tourism research director..

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The tourism industry is going strong, and August’s losses should rebound this month, said Mark Bratton, senior vice president of Colliers International.

“After an event like Hurricane Lane, prices come down and hoteliers claim back some of the market,” Bratton said. “People who canceled at $500 a night will see it’s $275 now and re-book.”

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