Government officials from the City and County of Honolulu and state of Hawaii are being very secretive about the pending huge tax hike to fund rail transit.

Yet Honolulu City Council Bill 40, which authorizes the City Council and administration to increase the state General Excise Tax by 12.5 percent, already is coming up for a second reading on Wednesday, July 6, 2005, before the full Council. The tax hike could go into effect in a matter of weeks unless there is a big enough outcry from the public.

Government officials know that this will not alleviate traffic congestion — Honolulu City Council Members Gary Okino and Nestor Garcia, who support the tax hike and rail, have admitted that in Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii meetings.

Unfortunately, the Chamber president would not allow Olelo, Public Access television to tape the meeting, and the Chamber president would not allow a Chamber Director, Peter Kay, to audio tape the meeting.

Government officials in support of rail transit and the pending 12.5 percent General Excise Tax increase also know this is just the beginning. This tax hike of a half cent per dollar is not enough to build the rail and maintain it so they will be coming back for more taxes.

We have thousands and thousands of residents who cannot afford this tax increase, and many who will be very hurt by it.

HB 1309, which was passed by the state Legislature this session giving counties the option to increase the General Excise Tax for transportation projects, is pending the governor

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