Republicans and community activists will rally today at 2 p.m. at the state Capitol against a number of tax increase proposals put forth by the Democrat majority during the 2003 Legislative session that will raise Hawaii’s taxes by an estimated $400 million.

KHVH Radio talk show host Rick Hamada encouraged his listeners to join the rally this afternoon with “no new taxes” signs and red, white and blue clothing.

Republicans also extended an invitation to the public to attend what started as a press conference and morphed this morning into a protest rally thanks to Hamada’s war cry on the air.

Hamada says he will plan another “no new taxes” rally to send a message to lawmakers that raising taxes in Hawaii is not acceptable to the majority of the people in Hawaii, who already pay the fourth highest taxes in the nation.

The main opponents to the tax increase proposals are the small business owners and free-market advocates who stress the economy and businesses continue to suffer under the state’s and city’s repressive tax and spend policies, and that raising taxes only makes the situation worse.

Hawaii, once again, stands alone with its unusual strategy by Democrats to “help” the people of the state.

Hawaii is the only state in the nation to propose a new tax during these tough economic times, according to Gov. Linda Lingle, who says lawmakers are doing just the opposite of what they should be doing to help the economy — cut taxes.

Lingle signed a “No new tax pledge” with the Americans for Tax Reform before she was elected to office and has maintained she will veto any tax increases.

But that is not stopping Democrats who are already counting their votes to see if they have enough to veto her override.

Here are some of the tax proposals alive and likely to pass unless there is tremendous public outcry today and throughout the 13 remaining days of the session.

*The state Senate passed a measure to increase the general excise tax by 12.5 percent, from 4 percent to 4.5 percent, and now the measure is before the state House. The House leadership says the measure will not pass, but those who know how the Legislature operates say no issue is dead until the close of the Legislative session at midnight, May 1, 2003.

*The state House proposed a measure to allow the Honolulu county to impose an additional sales tax of an undetermined amount. Gov. Linda Lingle has said she will approve the bill to give the county more autonomy. Opponents say the city already has taxing powers on property and substantial revenue from fees charged for services and vehicles, and that the city should not be given additional taxing powers because the mayor has not been responsible with the money he already has.

*House and Senate Democrats say they want to pass a $10 per person per month tax on everyone from ages 25 to 99 to create a state-subsidized long-term health-care fund to care for the aging population in Hawaii. The $10 will increase to $25 per month and continue to rise under the Democrats’ plan. Opponents say the “progressive tax” will not work because there will not be enough money to pay for the long-term care of the people who are forced to pay into it. They say it is better for the community if people are given tax credits and other benefits for investing in their own long-term care private options, and let the truly poor rely on the state and federal government should they need long-term care.

Click here “Representatives at a Glance” and “Senators at a Glance” to get the list of all state Legislators and their contact information.

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