BY FRANCES NUAR – I’m pretty sure there is only one entity in America that can automatically give itself a raise, at any time, under any circumstance, regardless of the effectiveness of its programs and services–yes, your state government can and does give itself a “raise” every time it increases taxes and fees on you, the taxpayer.
Don’t you all wish you had the ability to give yourself a raise at whim like that? Need an extra $100 million for this project? No problem. $5 billion for that one? Don’t even sweat it. The United Bank of Taxpayers never refuses to pay up. (There are pretty hefty penalties if certain shareholders–taxpayers–choose not give to the Corporation of Hawaii, Inc).
Currently at the Hawaii State Legislature there are a plethora of bills which have survived the halfway mark of session. These bills aim to close the $900 million shortfall projected over the next few years.
What does that mean for you? Drum roll please… yes, the cost of living in paradise will increase yet again! Some of the bills moving forward this session, as reported by Civil Beat:
- House Bill 840: Increases each of the six alcohol taxes by 20 percent
- Senate Bill 233: Expands the cigarette tax to include more tobacco products, including large cigars and smokeless tobacco products
- House Bill 1101 and 1102: HB 1101 would hike the state’s flat-rate vehicle registration fee from $25 to $45. HB 1102 would increase the vehicle weight tax
- House Bill 1092: Taxes pensions
- House Bill 809: Temporarily increases the transient accommodations tax rate on time share units by 2 percentage points to 9.25 percent though June 30, 2015
- House Bill 799: Temporarily suspends GET exemptions for certain activities through June 30, 2015, and requires the payment of the tax at a graduated rate
One of Governor Neil Abercrombie’s key campaign promises was to not raise taxes, but to work with the resources the government already had. Raising a myriad of taxes demonstrates a disconnect from the reality that the cost of living in Hawaii is already high–and raising that cost does nothing but diminish our standard of living.
The government is demanding a raise–how about it does something to deserve that first?