Graphic illustration by Emily Metcalf
Graphic illustration by Emily Metcalf

Twenty-nine Democrats in the 51-member Hawaii House of Representatives announced yesterday they oppose several tax increases recommend by a consultant to the state Tax Review Commission.

The proposals will be heard at a hearing set for today at 11 a.m. at the state capitol and will cover a draft report entitled “Study of the Hawaii Tax System: Final Report” prepared for the Tax Review Commission by The PFM Group.

Specifically, the House members oppose the proposals:

  • To increase in the general excise tax rate by 0.5 percent
  • To impose income tax on pension income
  • To increase the corporate income tax rate
  • And to eliminate income tax deductions for real property taxes

The House Democrats said they also reserve their right to oppose other recommendations in the draft report: “We feel that such a significant net tax increase probably will be detrimental to private businesses, residents, or both, and that PFM has not sufficiently analyzed the impact of the tax increase on the economy, businesses, and residents.”

The testimony in opposition was submitted on behalf of the following:

Henry J.C. Aquino                            Karen Awana                                     Tom Brower

Rida T.R. Cabanilla                            Mele Carroll                                       Pono Chong

Isaac W. Choy                                    Ty Cullen                                              Heather H. Giugni

Sharon E. Har                                     Mark J. Hashem                                Robert N. Herkes

Linda Ichiyama                                  Ken Ito                                                 Jo Jordan

Derek S.K. Kawakami                     Marilyn B. Lee                                   Sylvia Luke

Dee Morikawa                                  John M. Mizuno                               Mark M. Nakashima

Marcus R. Oshiro                              Calvin K.Y. Say                                   James K. Tokioka

Clift Tsuji                                              Gregg Takayama (Representative-Elect)

Ryan I. Yamane                                 Kyle T. Yamashita                             Jessica Wooley

The eight House Republicans have continued to oppose any tax increases proposed at the Hawaii Legislature.

Sen. Sam Slom, the lone Republican in the 25-member Senate, said the report represents a “colossal waste of time and money.”

Slom said Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed the Tax Review commissioners and instead of looking at the state’s tax structure independently, they have fallen into line to support the governor politically rather than to fairly look at the economic ramifications of what they are advocating.

Slom joins the 29 Democrats and others who believe additional taxes will harm Hawaii residents, businesses and any economic recovery.

The report and the meeting agenda can be accessed via the Tax Department’s website

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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards. Hawaii Reporter has a weekly television news show, News Behind the News, which airs on Mondays at 1:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.