Hawaii’s Tax Cancer Poised for Stage IV

Panos Prevedouros, PHD
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BY PANOS PREVEDOUROS PHD On April 4, I sent this letter to Hawaii Legislators poised to approve a raise of the General Excise Tax (GET). You too need to let them know how you feel about the GET before April 6 by writing to the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee about HB 793 relating to a General Excise Tax hike. The hearing is set for Wednesday in room 016 at 9 a.m. at the Hawaii State Capitol.

Dear Legislators,


I find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to remind you of the definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result.

For over two decades high taxes have been sinking Hawaii. Our brain drain and losses of native Hawaiian people to out-migration are staggering.  Our slow population growth is largely due to hordes of dependents from poor nations and from rich part-time residents who do not pay much in local taxes.

Take as an example the “tiny” 0.5% tack on to Oahu’s GET to support the rail project. On a good year it comes to $150 Million taken out of the economy (to send to Breda of Italy!), of which over $100 Million out of the pockets of Oahu residents. That’s over $400 per family of four per year.

The same family of four pays among the highest rent, highest food and highest fuel and electricity costs in the nation (electricity is 230% more than the average US). The same family barely makes the median US income.

It does not take a genius to see that the income-cost of living-taxation model that you have created for Hawaii is not sustainable. It is a burden and a disincentive for our own people.

A capable legislative body would make the cuts necessary. It is a fallacy to believe the Government does most things well. If Government was in charge of soda, every can would cost five bucks!

There are many functions of government that can be done in the private sector with no loss in job count and a huge gain in efficiency and cost reduction.

Several government programs and projects are enrichment “scams” with very little payoff for the public for which you purport to care for. I know that you are not looking hard enough.

So when it comes to the GET, you do not propose we fill the hole under Hawaii, you do not propose that we keep the hole as is, but you propose to dig it deeper.

At which point do you begin to feel responsible for the consequences to all Hawaii residents and to the well being of the State?