Tax Watch: Another 0.5% GET tax increase proposed

This month, Honolulu City Councilman Tom Berg introduced a resolution that urges the Hawaii State Legislature and the Governor to allow counties to increase the Hawaii general excise tax (GET) by 0.5% to pay for highway and bike lane construction and maintenance. Read the resolution here.

“This plan that I’m initiating is not something I even support,” he said. “I’m against the GET increase of all facets. This entire initiative is to let the people to decide” (“Berg proposes tax increase for more roads and bike paths,” KHON2 News,9/27/11).

The proposed tax is unaffordable and won’t solve the “problem” of traffic and poor roads.

  • Honolulu rail transit (funded in part by a dedicated 0.5% tax) is supposed to address traffic concerns and reduce wear on the roads.
  • The tax increase would come on top of increases to motor vehicle registration fees, which are supposed to pay for road maintenance.
  • The taxes collected would just be another “special fund” to be raided in emergencies.
  • The tax increase would raise the cost of pretty much everything.
  • The tax increase would hurt lower-income families most.

I respect Councilman Berg for representing his community, even when it goes against his own beliefs. But a GET tax increase is not the answer.

Please speak out against this proposed tax increase! Councilman Berg’s resolution will be discussed in the City Council’s Transportation Committee on September 29, 2011.

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