State briefs 3/20


Court tells travel sites to pay Hawaii $70 million

HONOLULU — Popular travel sites are being told to pay Hawaii a total of $70 million as a penalty for skirting state general excise taxes over the past 10 years.

A tax appeal court says that online travel companies including Expedia, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Priceline and Travelocity have been selling hotel rooms online for years without paying the necessary taxes.

Hawaii says the companies owe the state $158 million including interest. The state says it anticipates collecting $20 million a year from the travel sites now that the court battle has been won.

Hawaii is also suing the travel companies to get them to pay the state’s transient accommodations tax. The state says the companies owe about $400 million in unpaid transient accommodations taxes.

Kauai police arrest driver in pedestrian fatality

LIHUE, Kauai — A Kauai driver accused of hitting and killing a woman has been arrested for negligent homicide.

The Kauai Police Department said Monday that 82-year-old Robert Yount was driving an SUV when he allegedly hit 26-year-old Jill Garnett of Waimea as she walked along the shoulder of Kaumualii Highway on Saturday morning.

Yount was not injured and was the only person in the SUV. He was arrested and booked, and then released from custody pending further investigation.