In this time of fiscal constraint, the City and County of Honolulu must look at cutting back and saving money wherever possible. The Council should be commended for advancing Bill 47 to remove the unfair and unearned “discount” granted automobile recyclers for the disposal of potentially toxic Automobile Shredder Residue or ASR in Oahu’s landfill. There is absolutely no need to continue to subsidize profitable private sector companies with taxpayer’s money for this practice.
The example of our largest auto recycler illustrates this point perfectly. Schnitzer Steel recieved $1.9 million in “discounts” last year, and approximately $19 million over the past 10 years. During the last five years it has been shown that Schnitzer made about $1 million a month in operating profits selling scrap metal to the lucrative Asian market. This is not a company that needs any corporate welfare from Honolulu’s cash-strapped taxpayers.
Yet, they have come before this Council and presented one false case for their “need” of this money after the other. They had at first claimed that the Aloha Aina program would be closed down without it, but retreated when it was show they only put out $140,000 a year to fund that program while they pocket the rest. Now they say they never said it.
They continue to falsely claim a financial “need,” but refuse to show their local financials. At first they claimed this was not allowed because of SEC regulatioins, but when it was pointed out there are no such rules, they retreated from that claim also.
They just don’t want to show the city their books. They send their lawyers, PR people and lobbyists to try to work out a “deal” behind closed doors for one reason…they want to continue this stream of free taxpayers money, or as much as they can get, to their bottom line.
Bill 47 stops this waste and reestablished fairness for the both the taxpayers and other metal recyclers who have been victimized by this unfair business practice.
Keith Rollman is the Director for CGA for Hawaii