Ward: General Excise Tax Not the Best Option to Balance State Budget

Rep. Gene Ward
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BY BETH FUKUMOTO – Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) today issued a warning to the public not to believe the latest threats by the Senate as well as the Hawaii’s public labor unions that an increase in the general excise tax (GET) is the only option on the table.

Ward pointed to the rally held at the Capitol on April 4 calling on the Legislature to raise the GET, as well as a number of recent calls from Democrat Senators that an increase in the tax is really the only viable option on the table.


“The gross excise tax is the most regressive tax.  My fear is that our economy will stall and Hawaii families and jobs will get hurt by what is proposed,” Ward said.

Instead of just believing what is said by politicians, Ward suggested the public get involved in the process of balancing the state budget by themselves.

“The Hawaii House Republican Caucus has created an interactive website with all of the information that legislators are now using to balance the budget.  By clicking on www.HawaiiStateBudgetOnline.com it is possible to see over 100 options for increasing revenues or cutting expenses in state government,” Ward added.

Other features of the online budget include  the ability  of the public to add their own spending cuts or revenue measures to the existing list of choices.  Citizens can e-mail their budget plan back to the Legislature to let elected officials know their priorities.

“Sometimes the best answers are with the people.  The public can easily see you do not need to increase the GET by 25% or legalize and tax marijuana as a desperate act to balance the state budget,” Ward pointed out. “There are solid alternatives that don’t hurt families or stop businesses from creating new jobs.  These are the honest solutions our Legislature should be adopting.”

Beth Fukumoto is the Director of House Minority Research