Taxes – Back to Basics

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The Democrats in the Hawaii state Legislature have proposed approximately $460,000,000 in ”’new”’ taxes.

There are approximately 1 million residents of our state.


Divide: $460,000,000 divided by 1,000,000 = $460. That means that every resident of Hawaii will have their tax burden increased by four hundred and sixty dollars. Taxes will be ”’increased”’ by that amount — added to the existing tax burden.

Ignore the explanations that say:

*Tourists will pay it.

*We can get Federal money.

*Only the rich will pay it.

*Businesses will pay it.

*I don’t pay any taxes.

Truth is, ”’you”’ will pay it. Four Hundred and Sixty dollars for each person. That means $460 for you, $460 for your spouse (if you’re married) and $460 for ”’each”’ of your children (if you have any).

Don’t worry. You won’t get a bill from the Department of Taxation for $460, payable upon receipt. No, it will be taken from you, your spouse, and children in innumerable little snippets. A few cents more for a gallon of gas. A dime added to the cost of a Bento lunch. A quarter added to the cost of a “T” shirt. Everything at Sears, Costco, Macy’s, City Mill and Zippy’s will cost a little bit more. Just a little bit, but it will eventually add up to $460 ”’every year,”’ for ”’every person”’ who lives in Hawaii.

There is no other source for the money. Federal money, you say? Where does Federal money come from? ”’Us!”’ We send it to Washington, they remove a major portion of it for their cost of collecting and handling it, then they send some back to us, accompanied by “iron-clad” instructions on how it ”’must”’ be spent. And the Fed’s get really irritated when we don’t seem to appreciate it. They don’t seem to remember that it once was ”’our money!”’

Only the rich will pay it. No. The rich pay more than their fair share, because only the rich can. But if they send, say, 25 percent of their income back to the government in taxes, they won’t have that money to spend on cars, boats, beautiful homes, clothes, cameras, computers, hot tubs, etc., which are all built by other taxpayers — who suddenly find themselves unemployed.

Well, let’s tax “business” instead. While a business may be able to pay taxes without increasing prices, it rarely does. It almost always adds the tax to the price, unless a competitor’s lower prices make it impossible. However, if a profit cannot be made because of competition and/or taxes, the business will either close or be sold. It is simply not worthwhile, or possible, to run a business at a loss. Something will change, eventually. Look at Aloha and Hawaiian Airlines. Both are losing money, both are cutting back on flights, raising ticket prices, and losing customers. If they also had a serious competitor, they both would collapse. More taxpayers out of work, collecting unemployment (which is, of course, paid by ”’other”’ working taxpayers), etc.

You don’t care because you don’t pay any taxes? Oh, yes you do. Even if you are “all cash, under the table,” you still pay plenty of taxes. And you will ”’really”’ pay if you get caught! But if you buy gas, food, pay rent or mortgage payments, go to a movie, eat out, etc., you are taxed a lot for those privileges.

What is the answer? Again, it’s simple and basic. Cut government spending. Cut it at every level: City, State, Federal. Only let the government do what it needs to do, not what it wants to do. Keep regulations simple, and to a minimum. Each government regulation costs tax money to create, enforce, and monitor compliance. And the companies and individuals who are regulated spend a LOT of money trying to comply. If a regulation isn’t really helping, simplify or eliminate it. (Like Quarantine or Gasoline Price controls, maybe?)

Once spending is cut, the need for additional taxes will evaporate — or at least be a lot harder to justify. Just like at home: If you can’t earn more (increase taxes), you have to cut spending. Putting it on your credit card (deficit spending) is ”’not”’ a good idea.

Tell your legislators to quit trying to buy votes by passing out ”’your”’ money to everyone else. Tell them “No More Taxes!” And when the legislators realize they can get re-elected by ”’cutting”’ spending, we will all be much better off, and will have more money to spend in our own personal “pursuit of happiness.”

”’Bud Weisbrod is a resident of Honolulu and can be reached via email at”’