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  #26  
Old March 11th, 2005, 02:32 AM
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Default Re: New public transportation will raise taxes

No Tax Hike For Light Rail

As posted to HawaiiReporter.com

Quote:
Raising taxes for transit is bad news for Hawaii's economy. Residents already face the fourth-highest state and local government tax burden in the nation and this burden will only grow heavier if the state excise tax is raised to fund light rail. Perhaps even more harmful than the immediate impact of higher taxes is that by saddling taxpayers with the costs of constructing and maintaining a new government transportation boondoggle, the Legislature is setting taxpayers up for even heavier tax burdens into the future.
You can read the entire article at this link.

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Last edited by mel; March 11th, 2005 at 02:45 AM.
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  #27  
Old March 11th, 2005, 02:43 AM
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Default Re: New public transportation will raise taxes

Top 8 Myths About the Rail Planned For Honolulu

As posted to HawaiiReporter.com

Quote:

* No rail line anywhere is doing anything to reduce traffic congestion

* We are the 56th largest urban area in the U.S. and a clear majority of those larger than us have no rail line.

* From 1980-2000 only one U.S. urban area of the 22 with a rail line increased the percentage of commuters using public transportation and that was San Diego with a minuscule rise from 3.3 percent to 3.4 percent.

* So-called "rapid transit" is slow averaging only 22.5 mph whereas uncongested HOTways operate at free-flowing highway speeds of 55-60 mph.

* In addition to federal funding, rail transit construction will need local funding of $2.1 billion whereas a HOTway would need only $300 million. That is the difference between a tax increase and no tax increase.

* Rail transit will need $57 million in increased operating costs versus only $10 million for the HOTway.

In short, judging from results, both nationally and locally, we should not be placing any faith in public transportation to help in relieving traffic congestion.

We must remember that only about 8 percent of Honoluluís commuter traffic is by transit and trying to solve a 100 percent problem by focusing on the least important element of that problem is not too smart. To solve the traffic congestion problem you have to focus on the vast majority of it, which is the auto and truck traffic and the highways. That is where the action is.
The Alliance for Traffic Improvement advocates a HOT tollway.

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  #28  
Old March 11th, 2005, 01:24 PM
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Default Re: New public transportation will raise taxes

See, Mel? Now that you've given folks some facts, you've gained some credibility. That's all I was trying to get out of you. Maybe after reading what you posted above from the Hawaii Reporter, you'll get more people to agree with you! Besides, I'm the one who started this thread, so of course I have to read what's in it!

Miulang
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  #29  
Old March 11th, 2005, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: New public transportation will raise taxes

I don't need another lecture.
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  #30  
Old March 11th, 2005, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: New public transportation will raise taxes

Well, what do you know, an alternative! These Alliance for Traffic Improvement folks have a plan, which I assume Mel likes. I'll have to look into this HOTway idea of theirs.
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  #31  
Old March 11th, 2005, 11:38 PM
Miulang Miulang is offline
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Default Re: New public transportation will raise taxes

The US House of Representatives just approved a transportation bill that will bring Hawai'i $32 million in highway money that the State badly needs. Among the items scheduled for funding include $7 million for repairs to the H-1, $3 million to widen the Queen Kaahumanu Highway on the Big Island, and $3 million for another bypass on Kauai. The money is also supposed to be used for construction of a light rail system in Honolulu, although no specific amount was given.

This means that the State and City and County governments are going to have to ante up some money from their budgets too, since most federal funding is contingent upon the State contributing a portion of money too.

Miulang
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  #32  
Old March 12th, 2005, 03:39 AM
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Default No New Taxes: Rail We Do Not Need It!!!!!!!!!

HOTway Costs Far Less, Carries Far More

As posted to HawaiiReporter.com


Quote:
(emphasis added)

Do we need it? Can we afford? Can we maintain it? Those are the right questions and should be answered by tough-minded financial analysis rather than wishful thinking.

The National Tax Foundationís Business Tax Climate Index rates Hawaii as the worst state in the Union. And we are already the fourth highest taxed state per capita in the nation. Can the average hard-working taxpayer with two jobs afford an increase of $900 a year?

Read the complete piece
at this link.


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  #33  
Old April 7th, 2005, 01:09 AM
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Default GET Increase ?

Evidently the bill that would've raised the GET statewide has died. But the
sister bill House Bill 1309 is still alive. The latter bill would give the counties
the right to increase GET.

If you want to voice your opinion against this.....

http://www.hawaiirealtors.com/misc_s...excise_tax.asp
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  #34  
Old April 8th, 2005, 03:31 AM
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Default Re: GET Increase? NO!

The Hawaii Realtors are going all out with a media campaign to get people to tell their legislators that they don't want a general excise tax increase. Look for their ad with a bag of rice on it soon.


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  #35  
Old April 8th, 2005, 03:39 AM
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Default Re: GET Increase? NO!

Lawmakers on the Verge of Raising State G.E. Taxes

This article posted today at HawaiiReporter.com:

Quote:
Twelve of 15 members of the Senate Ways and Means committee, chaired by Sen. Brian Taniguchi, D-Manoa, voted yesterday to increase Hawaiiís general excise tax by 12.5 percent to fund a fixed rail system on Oahu.

Those who voted for the measure in the WAM committee include Democrat Sens. Brian Taniguchi, Shan Tsutsui, Kalani English, Wil Espero, Carol Fukunaga, Gary Hooser, Lorraine Inouye, Brian Kanno, Donna Kim, Russell Kokubun, Clarence Nishihara, and Norman Sakamoto. All of the Republicans on the committee opposed the measure and spoke out against it including Sens. Fred Hemmings, Sam Slom and Gordon Trimble.

The bill earlier passed the state House with House members voting to increase the G.E. Tax by 25 percent.

Hawaii already has the overall highest tax burden in the nation and one of the highest costs of living.

Are the lawmakers who voted for this tax increase, which affects every level of sale on goods and services in Hawaii, heroes or scoundrels?

You vote and let them know what you think.
Go to this link and cast your vote.


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  #36  
Old April 27th, 2005, 12:48 PM
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Default Raising taxes for O'ahu's Rails

Why should taxpayers on the neighbor islands pay for O'ahu's rail system? By raising taxes it's exactly what we will do. O'ahu's traffic problem is bad, but it should be a city problem ...not the State. 900.00 a year is a lot for a train I won't use.
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  #37  
Old April 27th, 2005, 03:01 PM
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

Hi Mel...Hi Miulang, well this sure turned into a festive thread

Being from both Honolulu and the Big Island now I can see the valid points from both sides.

Whether Oahu needs a rail system or not, something needs to be done with it's growing population and major congestion (#1 reason why I left Oahu for the open spaces of the Big Island) and funding has to come from somewhere.

Private transit? Well we all know how Hawaii attacks new transit ventures (i.e. Super Ferry) and other business start ups. It is hard to start a business here in Hawaii without being taxed to hell.

Public transit? Mel's arguement seems to point out the deficiencies in this approach.

Public/Private transit? Yeah like our bus system (MTL). I was a juror involved in a civil whistleblower case against one MTL manager against the corporation. The evidence that was presented and later restricted blew my mind to the point where having a private company manage a government funded operation wreaks of greedy hands in the til.

So who? Well unfortunately it has to be the Government if nobody steps up.

But I did vote against raising the GET to fund the rail program simply as Aloha Bear and Mel indicated: We on the neighbor islands will have to help fund a transit system that we won't be able to utilize. If there should be any government funding it should come primarily from the county for which that transit system will benefit (with the aid of federal monies)

Yes that means that Deep Pocket C&C of Honolulu won't be there to help subsidize outer island projects but hey that's the downside and you just gotta live with it.

If Honolulu doesn't want to bear the burden alone then Honolulu has to figure out a way to reduce it's transit woes.

When I used to ride TheBus to work I've always lamented that why should a middle-aged man in the Tax Gap Group (in other words pays the highest taxes) have to pay full fare on the bus and have to stand in the bus to get to work?

There should be more buses during peak hours to accomodate more comfortable seating and a law that requires all passengers to be seated when the bus is moving. That way everybody gets a seat and would make public transportation (the bus) more viable.

Adding a few more buses during these times would cost Honolulu a whole lot less and encourage motorists like myself to ride it.

The problem with rail is that it's fixed and you cannot change it's route if the population density moves.

On the flip side though, the arguement that a lot of motorists need their cars to pick up and drop off their kids in town when they live in Kapolei is kinda weak. Just take a look at motorists who are sitting in the parking lot known as H1/H2...they're alone in their cars. No kids there only one person. Then look at them again in the afternoon rush...same thing.

Rail would work for those individuals who just go to work then go home. But like improving the sewer and sidewalks in front of your own home, that cost should be aimed at those who will benefit from it.

Someone (editorial in the Honolulu Advertiser) even advocated limiting population growth! Yeah that's an easy answer keep people from moving to Hawaii or from having kids? Maybe that lady should start the movement by moving out of her house and out of Hawaii. If she thought that was such a great idea why isn't she implimenting it?

Is there an answer? If I could answer that million dollar question then I'd be Mayor of Honolulu. Go ask Mufi...it's his job to have that answer, Mel, Miulang we can only suggest and maybe someone will see the virtues in your statements and can work with them to find a viable solution to this decades old problems of mass transit in Honolulu. Remember F.A.R.T.? Fasi Area Rapid Transit (mocking SFO's B.A.R.T)? When Frank Fasi was our beloved mayor back then, he advocated a rail system that long ago.

For now my personal solution was to make the move away from Honolulu to do my part in relieving congestion there. Really though we need to de-urbanize Honolulu and get more working people to work closer to where they live. Kapolei was supposed to be that answer as the second city, however anyone driving townbound facing the sun in the morning then Ewa bound facing that same sun in the afternoon will tell you it ain't happening.

Okay Mufi, you got four years to do something about it. Let's see you earn your paycheck.
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  #38  
Old April 27th, 2005, 03:39 PM
Miulang Miulang is offline
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

Yikes. We have the same problem up here. The State Legislature just voted to increase our gas taxes by 9.5 cents over the next 3 years so we can rehabilitate 2 major thoroughfares that mostly benefit King County (Seattle and Bellevue) residents. And the people of Eastern WA are raising all kinds of cane...just like the Neighbor Islanders are...because they get to pay the taxes and don't get the benefit. Eastern WA people would like to cecede from the State of WA and start their own state (current proposed name: Cascadia) because their needs and concerns are so different from those of the more urban western WA. I can emphathize with the farmers, etc. but one fact still remains: NOBODY SAID LIFE IS FAIR.

One thing most people don't realize is that big city folks also help subsidize those in smaller towns too. Take phone service, for instance. The reason the land line phone rates are equal for everyone for the same set of services whether they live in Honolulu or Kahalu'u is because the people in the city are helping to subsidize the cost of the service to areas where it's not profitable for the phone company to operate otherwise. Businesses subsidize all residential phone customers because they pay higher rates for basic service. You would not have universal phone services if it was not for the city dwellers and business owners.

The acceptance of "urban villages" really is growing. Why would you want to have to commute for hours to get to a job and then commute all the way back home if you could find a job and all the essential services you require on a daily basis in your own neighborhood?

The reason why subdivisions became the norm was because cars became cheaper and we were all programmed into believing that the American Dream was a home with a yard and a white picket fence around it. Sprawlinization required more land, and available land was farther and farther away from the city core. As more and more people moved into the suburbs, they spent less time in town outside of their work hours, so small businesses began to fail because fewer people patronized them. It was more "convenient" to drive x miles to a megamall and do all your shopping in one place than it was to have to visit several businesses which might be blocks away from each other.

As I said before, the "village" I live in is 20 minutes north of Seattle, but I have banks, McD, a department store, a library, 3 supermarkets, multiple restaurants, schools and a somewhat decent bus line (soon to be a monorail stop too), 3 Starbucks, antique stores, car repair shops and other small retail businesses, gas stations, and 2 hospitals within 3 miles of me. When the time comes for me to permanently garage the car, I can hop on the bike and get to anything I need.

If the CC of Honolulu is smart, they will turn Kapolei into a true city that has all the services that Honolulu has so people can find work and live in Kapolei without putting undue stress on your already stress-filled roads.

Miulang

P.S. Here is a question to the neighbor islanders who think it unfair to spend $900 annually on a service that they can't use: what if you paid the $900 annually to your own county government so they could beef up public transportation on your island? Would that be more palatable? Because you know you have traffic problems, too.
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  #39  
Old April 27th, 2005, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

And that additional 9.5 cents is over and above what I pay in sales tax every year for my car (this year the bill was $531), which is also supposed to be funding public transportation up here.

Miulang
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  #40  
Old April 27th, 2005, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

Hawaii's sales Tax is one of the lowest in the Nation. When I go to California I pay 8+% for sales tax, Nevada 6+%. Why can't we raise our sales tax to, say 7% and provide a calculated credit that will make the additional 3% a wash when we file for Hawaii State Taxes. In essence, we will be placing the buren on the tourists. The opposition will say that it will hurt tourism, but think about it, does anyone decide not to go to California because their sales tax is 8%? I don't think so. Additionally, we will be somewhere in the middle, just not at the low end where we are now. We can make this tax effective statewide and make the tax credit to Hawaii Residents filing their tax returns Statewide too. I'm sure it's not all that simple, but we should be looking more into those lines.
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  #41  
Old April 27th, 2005, 11:31 PM
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

First off the GET tax isn't a sales tax as we all mistakenly apply. Second yes our sales tax is lower than most, however it's the cost of goods due to shipping which makes products here higher than the mainland average prices. Raising the GET will burden those Title I families who have little income to spend. My feeling is if we do raise the GET, then we exempt things like food and prescriptions alone so the poor can afford to eat and be medicated.

Aaron, remember your thread on Home Depot on DHHL lands? Wasn't there an issue with High-cost loop phone service and a waiver that allowed that other company to come in and provide phone service there? What was that waiver for? This is regarding Miulang's comments on the cost of phone service.

One thing I do understand is that all taxes won't benefit all taxpayers, however for such a massive undertaking, raising the GET to cover a very limited transit system seems unfair. When using the example of phone service, at least you get to use that service despite having a larger county pay for most of it. There is some equity in there unlike rail.

No I still stand on my position that the outer islands shouldn't have to pay for a system they'll never use, NEVER USE. Now a ferry service yeah I can see raising the GET to have that, all counties can benefit from it (Including Maui County if they get their act together).

Yes life is unfair however at least we in the United States have a voice. Voting for raising the GET isn't good and the consequences for our elected officials to do so will be seen in the next elections.
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  #42  
Old April 28th, 2005, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

Firstly I'm STRONGLY opposed to any GET increase. I have tried
to drill that home with my legislators. GET gets applied to any service, product
you purchase here in Hawaii. Besides that I don't want to be financing something on Oahu.... gimme a break....


"Aaron, remember your thread on Home Depot on DHHL lands? Wasn't there an issue with High-cost loop phone service and a waiver that allowed that other company to come in and provide phone service there? What was that waiver for? This is regarding Miulang's comments on the cost of phone service.


I don't know how this fits into the GET increase discussion, but for starters...
it wasn't about Home Depot on DHHL lands. It was about Home Depot using
Sandwich Isles Communications for telephone service.

I'm strongly opposed SIC project on the grounds it is a waste of taxpayer funds and the fact that after complete it will create a disparity between
DHHL and non-DHHL lands. DHHL lands will get Fiber-optic connections to the home while non-DHHL areas won't have FTTH.
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  #43  
Old April 28th, 2005, 01:20 AM
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

Boosting the GET to an even five would at least make it easier to calculate. What the heck is this 4.16666666666 crap anyway? But since a GET is a compounding tax - charged on a product or service every step of the way, sometimes a handful of times before it gets to the consumer - I wish we'd at least add the usual exemptions for food and health care.
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  #44  
Old April 28th, 2005, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pzarquon
BWhat the heck is this 4.16666666666 crap anyway?
It is because its a "sellers tax" not "buyers tax" . Thus as far as I understand
why the tax is .041666 is because the sellers have to charge 4% of 4% of
the selling price to pay their state tax obligations.


http://starbulletin.com/2003/03/16/news/story6.html

Now here's where it gets tricky. Some merchants will sell you the $100 item, and add on a tax of $4.16.

The reason is that the excise tax is the seller's tax, not the buyer's tax as it would be in most states, counties and cities across the nation that charge a "sales tax" on the final retail sale of an item.

At the close of the business day, the Hawaii merchant adds up his gross receipts, including the amount he added onto the sales ticket as "tax," and then multiplies his total by 4 percent to determine how much he owes the state.

That means the $100 he got for the item, plus the $4 tax he added to total $104 times 4 percent to equal $4.16 he owes the state
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  #45  
Old April 28th, 2005, 02:15 AM
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

The following link contains a brief explanation of the GE Tax from the Tax Foundation of Hawaii:

http://www.tfhawaii.org/taxes/get.html

Here's a PDF direct from the State Dept. of Taxation on the GE Tax:

http://www.state.hi.us/tax/brochures/ge_bro.pdf

No matter which it is, a tax increase is a tax increase. More money out of your pocket and more money into the coffers of government.

Call, fax or email your legislator. Tell them to vote "no" on HB 1309 & HB 1645.


No New Taxes Hawaii | HAR - Oppose the GE Tax Increase!
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  #46  
Old April 28th, 2005, 06:04 AM
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron S
Firstly I'm STRONGLY opposed to any GET increase. I have tried
to drill that home with my legislators. GET gets applied to any service, product
you purchase here in Hawaii. Besides that I don't want to be financing something on Oahu.... gimme a break....


"Aaron, remember your thread on Home Depot on DHHL lands? Wasn't there an issue with High-cost loop phone service and a waiver that allowed that other company to come in and provide phone service there? What was that waiver for? This is regarding Miulang's comments on the cost of phone service.


I don't know how this fits into the GET increase discussion, but for starters...
it wasn't about Home Depot on DHHL lands. It was about Home Depot using
Sandwich Isles Communications for telephone service.

I'm strongly opposed SIC project on the grounds it is a waste of taxpayer funds and the fact that after complete it will create a disparity between
DHHL and non-DHHL lands. DHHL lands will get Fiber-optic connections to the home while non-DHHL areas won't have FTTH.

Part of it was Sandwich Island Communications' filing for a waiver to allow High Cost Loop phone service on DHHL lands and that Verizon was fighting it because they were given the go ahead by the State to provide statewide telephone service and that included DHHL lands.

How it relates to this topic is the way phone service is partially subsidized by Federal grant monies to help areas where phone service would be cost prohibitive due to the small pool of subscribers. Miulang speculates that although Honolulu pays the brunt of Verizon's phone service statewide, the outer islands benefit from Honolulu's deep pockets. But does this waiver make that speculation moot? I don't know.

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  #47  
Old April 28th, 2005, 11:50 AM
Moto Moto is offline
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigwatanabe
First off the GET tax isn't a sales tax as we all mistakenly apply. Second yes our sales tax is lower than most, however it's the cost of goods due to shipping which makes products here higher than the mainland average prices. Raising the GET will burden those Title I families who have little income to spend. My feeling is if we do raise the GET, then we exempt things like food and prescriptions alone so the poor can afford to eat and be medicated.
Craig, I understand that the GET is not the same as sales tax. That's why I suggested that we raise the sales tax. If Title I families will get hurt, we make the adjustment at tax filing time or possibly raising food stamp allotment by the sales tax hike if it can't be fixed by tax filing. Yes, you will be out of some cash up front, until you file for your taxes, so you make an adjustment on what is taken out of your wages for taxes. Bottom line, I am tired of paying for other states' programs when I visit them and don't have their residents pay for our programs when they visit us.
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  #48  
Old April 28th, 2005, 01:00 PM
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moto
Bottom line, I am tired of paying for other states' programs when I visit them and don't have their residents pay for our programs when they visit us.
Care to elaborate? I'm not sure I understand. Tax revenues from visitors are a big chunk of the pie, I thought... especially considering the huge Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT).

Meanwhile, here's a story from today's Star-Bulletin:

Hawaii ranks first among states in taxes per capita
Quote:
Hawaii has the highest per-capita state tax collection in the nation, according to figures released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau... The data from the 2004 Annual Survey of State Government Tax Collections found that per-capita taxes collected by states averaged $2,024 nationally. Hawaii recorded $3,048 in per-capita taxes collected, followed by Wyoming, $2,968; Connecticut, $2,937; Minnesota, $2,889; and Delaware, $2,862... One reason Hawaii's per-capita tax take is high is because it is the only state that funds public education. In other states, schools are funded by local property taxes. "It's kind of like looking at apples and oranges," said Linn Garcia, a tax specialist with the state Department of Taxation.
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  #49  
Old April 28th, 2005, 02:22 PM
Moto Moto is offline
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

What I am advocating for is a raise in the Sales Tax to say 7% from 4%. But to balance that off, when you file your Hawaii State Income tax, you will receive a larger exemption (that proposal was introduced yesterday for the GET proposal), large enough to offset the additional 3% a resident would pay. In a perfect world, it would be a wash for local residents that pay taxes. The plus would be that visitors to our islands will also pay the tax, but since they do not file for Hawaii State Income taxes, their contribution will be what the state essentially uses to fund a special program. Essentially, it is a tax hike but only for non-Hawaii Residents. Is 7% unreasonable? I pay 8% when I am in California, 6% in Nevada. I am not sure what it is at other areas, but I don't think 7% is unreasonable, provided the adjustment is given when I file for my taxes. Hope this clears things up. I also understand that this may not be the perfect solution, but I would like to think this is a step in the right direction.
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  #50  
Old April 28th, 2005, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: Tax Hike for Rail?

The Hawaii General Excise Tax is NOT a SALES tax. You cannot raise a Sales tax if we do not have a sales tax. We have a general excise tax and the proposed raise is for that. Whatever taxes get raised, the bottom line is that there is MORE MONEY out of your pocket now. NO NEW TAXES!
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