I was shocked to read that the proposed multi-billion dollar fixed heavy rail system from Kapolei to the University of Hawaii at Manoa would be funded only 16 percent through the 12.5 percent increase
in Honolulu’s General Excise Tax, which is to be increased beginning in January 2007.
I believe the majority of the people of the state are
under the mistaken impression that the fixed rail system would be funded completely and
totally with a combination of the General Excise Tax increase and federal funding.
Now we are being told
that the rest of the necessary funding will come through multiple taxpayer sources including 20 percent state taxes,
21 percent federal taxes and a whopping 46 percent from city property tax revenues.
The 2006 property tax appraisals all ready reflect a $125 million
windfall in tax revenues for the city which Mayor Hannemann says he
absolutely has to have to “rebuild” Honolulu.
So how will the city
generate the additional 46 percent from property taxes needed to fund rail?
Obviously since the mayor needs all of the current increase to fund pay
raises, increased payments on debt and new projects, property taxes will
have to generously increase again. This would probably have to be in the
neighborhood of a 50 percent increase in order to raise the $250 Million needed
annually to construct and maintain the rail system. Property owners will
have to somehow find this additional tax money (called tax revenue by the
city) by cutting back on their own life styles.
Seniors on fixed incomes
will have to consider selling their homes. Landlords will have to pass
their property tax bill on to their renters who have all ready been hit
with a hefty increase and who all ready are paying some of the highest
rents in the nation.
Unfortunately the rail proposal fails to provide the alternative that
will actually work: moving the destination for Leeward traffic from
downtown to Kapolei where the greatest increase in population is going to
Why do all the commuters in Kapolei where the rail will start have
to go to downtown and to the University of Hawaii in Manoa when
government, business and UH West Oahu could more easily be moved to
Kapolei and the traffic go west instead of east?
The only unknown in this process so far is who will go bankrupt first the
taxpayer or the city? The only group of citizens that can save taxpayers
from our own city government is ”’Let Honolulu Vote”’ (information available
This group is collecting signatures to place
an initiative on the November ballot that would allow citizens to have a
vote on tax issues within the city budget. This would appear to be the
only way to stop or at least slow down a city administration and city
council that have gone tax crazy without regard for citizens ability to
”’Garry P. Smith, a resident of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, can be reached via email at”’ mailto:email@example.com
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