Rail Tax Extension and Increase Bill Pass Out Of State Senate

Not surprisingly, 16 of the 25 Senators, all Democrats voted in favor of increasing the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) and extending the General Excise Tax (GET) surcharge to pay for the gigantically expensive fixed rail project now under construction on Oahu. The application of a new charge to the TAT will also force neighbor island counties to pay for Oahu rail.

Rescuing the taxpayers from the financial shackles of this gigantic, expensive rail mistake are the farthest thing on most if not all of the legislator and rail supporters minds. All they want to do is build this expensive train and take more money away from the struggling Hawaii taxpayers. It is probably hopeless (short of a North Korean nuclear missile attack) to think that somehow this gigantic expensive train can be stopped.

SB4 which was voted by the full Senate today moves on to the State House of Representatives where it is going through the same hearing process as it did in the Senate. It is expected that despite much testimony in opposition to rail and the new taxes, the House like the Senate will just rubber stamp its approval to the rail tax bailout bill.

It is so sad that the taxpayers have to continue to dish out more money for this gigantic mess that should have never been built in the first place.

Senators Who Voted YES on SB4 to the GET extension and TAT increase to bail out rail.

Stanley Chang (D-Diamond Head-Kahala-Hawaii Kai)
Donovan Dela Cruz (D-Wahiawa-Whitmore-Mililani Mauka)
Will Espero (D-Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point)
Mike Gabbard (D-Kapolei-Makakilo)
Brickwood Galuteria (D-Kakaako-McCully-Waikiki)
Les Ihara (D-Moiliili-Kaimuki-Palolo)
Gil Keith-Agaran (D-Waihee-Wailuku-Kahului)
Michelle Kidani (D-Mililani-Waikele-Kunia)
Donna Mercado Kim (D-Kalihi Valley-Moanalua-Halawa)
Clarence Nishihara (D-Waipahu-Pearl City)
Karl Rhoads (D-Downtown-Nuuanu-Liliha)
Maile Shimabukuro (D-Kalaeloa-Waianae-Makaha)
Jill Tokuda (D-Kailua-Kaneohe)
Glenn Wakai (D-Kalihi-Salt Lake-Aliamanu)
Ron Kouchi (D-Kauai-Niihau)
Brian Taniguchi (D-Makiki-Tantalus-Manoa)

Senators Who Voted NO on SB4:

Roz Baker (D-West Maui-South Maui)
J. Kalani English (D-Molokai-Lanai-East Maui)
Josh Green (D-Naalehu-Kailua-Kona)
Breene Harimoto (D-Pearl Harbor-Pearl City-Aiea)
Lorraine Inouye (D-Kaupulehu-Waimea-North Hilo)
Kaiali‘i Kahele (D-Hilo)
Gil Riviere (D-Heeia-Laie-Waialua)
Russell Ruderman (D-Puna)
Laura Thielen (D-Hawaii Kai-Waimanalo-Kailua)

All of the State Senators in Hawaii are Democrats.

The bill is being heard today in the House Finance Committee. The hearing started at 1:30pm.
Mayor Caldwell begs for fundsHonolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and City Council Chair, Ron Menor are shown testifying on SB4 in their effort to get more money to fund rail at this past Monday’s hearing before the State Senate Ways & Means Committee. Photo by Choon James.

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Biki Bikeshare Racks Taking Away Public Parking Spaces

Biki Taking Away Parking

Biki bikeshare racks are sprouting like weeds all over urban Honolulu taking away some valuable and cherished parking spaces that motorists regularly use. What’s up with this? What is this Biki thing?

The bikeshare operation is the latest effort in the City & County of Honolulu’s scheme of engineering and pricing motorists out of our vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc.) by making driving and parking more expensive through higher taxes and fees.

Now we have Biki,  a private company to setting up rental bicycle racks all over town, taking away valuable, highly used, parking spaces away from the motoring public. Some of those spaces are places where motorists enjoy free, unmetered parking, such as in the area along Kalakaua Avenue near Kapiolani Park.

Biki is a non-profit bicycle sharing operation that is priced (like old fashioned cell phone service) at $3.50 per ride, per user for a 30 minute block. Bike renters can pick up a bike at one rack and return it to another. The service takes only takes electronic payments. No cash. Each rack is self powered with a small solar array mounted on a pole adjacent to the rack. The racks will hold about 20 or so bikes.

The bicycles are goofy looking and as this photo shows, may also contain advertising. It will be just a matter of time before some of the bike racks and bicycles are vandalized.

The per ride pricing is very high for most residents. The current bus fare is $2.50 per ride, unlimited distance and time. The per ride bus fare is going up to $2.75 after a recent bill was passed by the City Council. The $2.75 is still cheaper than the Biki $3.50 rental. Clearly the high priced Biki is aimed at tourists.

That said, why are Biki racks popping up in neighborhoods where tourists don’t travel to? Why are Biki racks taking up valuable parking spaces, metered or free, that residents use? I have to think this is part of the city’s larger agenda to get most of us out of our motor vehicles.

Biki should only be set up in places that target tourists. Biki racks should never replace any motor vehicle public parking. It is bad enough that the city has taken many parking spaces away to build bicycle lanes. Motorists are being shortchanged while paying ever increasing taxes and fees to operate a vehicle.

#Biki #Bikeshare

Additional Links:

Honolulu Residents Get Raw Deal With Bikeshare, Civil Beat Commentary

Attorney General’s office seeks answers to city’s new Bikeshare program, KHON on YouTube

Biki Pushback at Kapiolani Park, KITV 4 News

Vote No on City Charter Amendment 8, HawaiiFiles Blog Archive

 

Biki Taking Away Parking
More like “no parking forever” in this area next to Ross Dress For Less on Keeaumoku.

Biki Taking Away Parking
City parking meters and spaces are covered up to transfer revenues to Biki operations.

Biki Stations: EXPENSIVE!
Will you pay $3.50 to rent a goofy looking bicycle for 30 minutes (or less)?

Biki Station: Ala Moana Park
Biki logo on one of their Ala Moana Park racks as it is on all others.

South King Street - Honolulu HI
Honolulu’s street parking spaces are under assault by Biki and other bicycle policies being implemented by the City & County of Honoululu.

“Rail is a Fraud”

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii‘s Dr. Keli’i Akina and University of Hawaii Law Professor Dr. Randy Roth talk about the extremely expensive and over budget Honolulu Rail Project.

“There was a great deception from the beginning”…..

As we have mentioned in earlier blog posts at the original Hawaii Files sites, rail is not a traffic solution but is a development project. The people and organizations making the most money out of this are the ones benefitting at tax payer expense. The current estimate to just finish building rail is $10 billion, with other estimates climbing higher to $15 billion.

Funding for the rail remains controversial, currently a 1/2% increase to the general excise tax that started in 2007. The rail tax period has been pushed out 10 years beyond its drop dead date to at least 2027.

With the remainder of the federal funding at possible risk and not enough to cover the rail, there are proposals to increase property taxes and many others in order to pay for rail.

How can the tax payers afford to continue funding this fiscal mistake and nightmare?

Video courtesy of ThinkTech Hawaii.

Gigantic Expensive Mistake//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

 

Welcome to The Hawaii Political Platter

"Let the People Vote"//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Is there a place for conservative policy in Hawaii? For more than 60 years now the State of Hawaii has been dominated by the Democratic Party. Over the past six decades the policies set forth by the Hawaii Democrat Party has pushed this state further and further into disrepair, economic stagnation, over development, wasteful government spending, more taxes, more cost, increasing homelessness, out of this world real estate and rental prices, over regulation, socialism, and much, much more. If something can go horribly wrong (rail) in Hawaii, it will.

Can the State of Hawaii ever recover from this? The only sure way is to kick all of the entrenched Democrats and left-leaning Republicans out of city, state and federal offices and start over again with a fresh new slate of people committed to freedom, liberty, capitalism and a Hawaii that we can afford to live and work in. Is that possible?

Probably not, but it is a worthy goal, no matter how difficult.

The purpose of this blog is to point out some of the most pressing issues that impact our social, cultural, educational and financial well being.

Posts appearing in this blog will generally be that of the author and comes from a conservative point of view. On occasion we may have guest opinions, press releases and news items cross posted from other websites. While the focus is on Hawaii government nd politics and items from the mainland United States and the rest of the world will occasionally show up here.

The blog will not be updated on a regular basis and at times may lay idle between posts.

We hope you find this blog to be interesting in the coming weeks and months.