We must find solutions to vacation rental issue

The headline “Proposed tax changes cause concern” about the short-term rental tax bill that the County Council will begin working on brought up some valid concerns for property owners (The Maui News, Oct. 29). It would not be right to tax people who own and live in a complex that has vacation rentals a higher rate. I’m somewhat confident that the council will take that into consideration while moving forward on the bill.

Inadequate and affordable housing for people that live here will continue to be an issue so long as it is more profitable for people to rent out ohanas and cottages to visitors rather than as a residential unit. Why would someone consider renting a unit for someone to live in for $1,000 a month when they can get that same amount for a week rental to visitors? There needs to be some incentive for people to consider renting to a local family at an affordable rate. Otherwise rental rates will continue to spiral upwards, out of control.

Higher tax rates for vacation rentals over residential rentals is only one way to approach this matter. Another would be zoning laws that limit where and how many vacation rentals are available and to enforce the laws we already have on the books. Perhaps a tax credit for those that rent living space to people who actually live here full time would be another part of the solution.

I’m sure more ideas abound out there to solve this very real problem.

Larry Quimby