'Job Killers' Advance in the Hawaii House of Representatives

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There were 15 “Job Killer” bills in debate on the Hawaii House of Representatives Floor yesterday. The taxes and fees will draw up to $500 million from Hawaii’s economy and potentially force more layoffs. At $30,000 per employee, $500 million removed from the economy is over 16,000 jobs.

We already have over 7 percent unemployment. We need to be cutting the cost of government, not putting our already struggling businesses, which create 80 percent of all jobs in Hawaii, in a position where they need to cut jobs.

People and businesses are struggling to live within their means. The government needs to learn to do the same.

‘The following are “Job Killer” bills that I spoke against yesterday:

*Job Killer number 1 for the night was HB 2421, which increases the tax on petroleum products from $0.05 to $1.05 per barrel.

*Job Killer 2: HB 1926 charges businesses $20 more for a variety of State fees.

*Job Killer 3: HB 2370 raises the car rental fee from $1 to $4.50 per day.

*Job Killer 4: HB 2937 turns health benefits into a collective bargaining issues and removes the Legislature’s authority to determine what the State can afford to pay.

*Job Killer 5: HB 2874 increases the transient accommodations tax against our visitors industry.

*Job Killer 6: HB 2595 makes non-profits have to pay the general excise tax.

*Job Killer 7: HB 1907 takes away net operating loss deductions, itemized deductions and the capital goods excise tax credit for small businesses.

*Job Killer 8: HB 2850 increases the tax on liquor by 13 percent.

*Job Killer 9: HB 2851 increases taxes on insurance contracts as well as on insurance providers by an unspecified amount.

*Job Killer 10: HB 2872 allows for an increase in fees on banks and other financial institutions.

*Job Killer 11: HB 2852 makes the insurance premium tax applicable to HMSA, Kaiser and health maintenance organizations.

*Job Killer 12: HB 2866 increases taxes on businesses, properties, etc. transferred after to beneficiaries after death.

*Job Killer 13: HB 2867 eliminates income tax credits and puts a cap on the remaining credits.

*Job Killer 14: HB 2877 replaces certain income tax exemptions with a 1 percent tax.

*Job Killer 15: HB 2962 defers the payment of high tech tax credits to Hawaii’s high tech companies.

All of these bills are in addition to the twelvefold increase in the unemployment insurance tax that businesses have to pay. So it doesn’t make sense for us to be pushing businesses into making the problem even worse, just so the government’s spending problem is allowed to continue to get worse.

We can’t tax our way out of a recession.

‘Hawaii Rep. Gene Ward is a member of the State House of Representatives and represents House District 17, Hawaii Kai

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