Got Sweet Tooth? There’s a Tax for That

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    Enjoy a can of soda with lunch or a cigarette cigar or drink after work? If so there’s a tax for that.

    Hawaii lawmakers have deemed these products bad for society and so are considering additional “sin” taxes on them in addition to the higher than average sin taxes already on the vast majority of these products. While proponents of such taxes hope to punish consumers out of what they consider bad behavior opponents of sin taxes say the government should not tax these items more than any others and in addition they are hurting those with lower incomes all the more because they often consume such products in greater proportion. ”No ‘Cheers’ at the Capitol: Lawmakers Want to Hike the Tax of Booze”


    In the House of Representatives House Bill 2850 HD1 introduced by House Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say D- Palolo would increase the liquor tax rates for 5 years. The liquor industry in Hawaii is already heavily taxed at $5.98 per gallon well above the U.S. median excise tax rate of $3.75. For a typical bottle of distilled spirits sold in Hawaii 25% of the retail price goes to pay State and local taxes and fees. Not surprisingly the Hawaii Bar Owners Association is strongly opposed to the measure asking the legislature to ?please stop lumping on the taxes? noting their industry is key in attracting tourists to the islands. The food and beverage industry in Hawaii has already seen a 6% cutback from 2007 to 2008 as total visitor days on the islands cut back 8.7% concurrently.  Anheuser Busch Companies reports that the liquor industry is not longer the ?cash cow? it once was. According to industry calculations ?the increases on beer proposed in this bill will result in $4 400 000 less in retail sales 37 direct employment jobs lost and 43 beer industry jobs all for a gain of $3.4 million more in the excise tax.? Opponents say Hawaii cannot afford to lose more jobs