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Hawaii's Hotel Tax

October 11, 1987

Robert Curlender wrote in Letters for Sept. 13 to complain about Hawaii's hotel tax. After an 11-day visit he found a "$238 surprise at checkout." His comments need some clarification. Few people who visit the Islands will have a problem of the same magnitude; a $238 tax bill means he spent roughly $250 a night for his room; 98% of our visitors find accommodations for less. Right now, for example, you can get a first-class ocean-front room in Kona for about $50 a night.

A hotel or room tax is not at all unusual. Anaheim derives a significant part of its income from a room tax. Hawaii's hotel tax is considerably less than similar taxes in most other domestic and virtually all foreign destinations. The sales tax in Hawaii, at 4%, is less than the sales tax in California.

ZACHARY SMITH

University of Hawaii

Hilo

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