Planning to escape the troubles of tough times with a walk in the park? Think again, because it may cost you.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is planning on hiking fees in various parks and boating facilities, raising the ire of tour companies, residents, and boaters.

One boater in Kauai claims that anchoring his small boat would cause his fee of $30 a month to skyrocket to $1,000 a month.

Hotel occupancy has dipped as low as 55.8 percent on Maui. This comes as a small surprise, as the state has repeatedly raised the transient accommodations tax, or TAT, over the years. In July, it was increased to 7.25 percent, equivalent to a 28 percent increase.

The result has been the opposite of the intended effect. There has already been a negative 9.4 percent change in TAT collections from FY 07-08 to FY 08-09. If legislation like this continues, we will only see Hawaii go deeper into the red.

According to the Pacific Business News, 2009 hotel revenues fell by $682 million.

Following public hearings, Department of Land and Natural Resources officials will present their findings to the Small Business Regulatory Review Board.

It is up to residents to let them know how they feel about these proposed hikes. With some convincing, perhaps more public meetings can be held before advancing a proposal to the Board of Natural Resources for a vote.

Department website: http://hawaii.gov/dlnr

‘Pearl Hahn is a policy analyst with the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. She can be reached at mailto:pearl@grassrootinstitute.org’

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