Hawai‘i’s total conservation funding gap has been estimated as high as $360 million annually, constituting a major unfunded liability that poses a significant risk to our communities, our business climate, and our overall economic resiliency. The Hawai‘i Green Fee offers a financing solution to close this conservation budget deficit and diversify our economy. Below is a May 2021 update from the team:
We made significant progress in the 2021 legislative session, but ultimately a visitor bill was not passed. A set of bills were introduced, and two made it through 'cross-over' but were not granted hearings. SB666 would have established a $40 per visitor green fee, which could have generated approximately $200 million in conservation workforce revenue (based on an estimated 5 million visitors), which could fund an estimated 2,400 green jobs in the public and private sector. This would have provided incredible support to diversify our economy and re-green our pandemic recovery.
Because 2021 is the first year in the biennium, this bill, as well as others that sought to establish similar visitor green fee programs, can be reintroduced in the 2022 legislative session. Between now and then, the Hawai‘i Green Fee team is focusing on:
- Strategically debriefing with legislators, agencies, and community and business leaders on the 2021 green fee legislative efforts in order to determine which elements of the bill need to be adjusted to be successful next session;
- Continuing to advance a Pledge to Our Keiki with the nonprofit Kanu Hawai‘i and Department of Education, including building a community groundswell, social media, and branding campaign.
To read the full Green Passport report from October 2019, click the link below.