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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In Opposition to SB 4: GE Tax Extension and Increase to the TAT to Pay For Rail

By Melvin Ah Ching, Editor & Publisher, The Hawaii Political Platter Blog.Hawaii State Capitol 2With the start of the not so special legislative session to suck more money out of taxpayers, I decided to send testimony to the Senate Ways & Means Committee to oppose the extension of the General Excise Tax (GET) and the increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT). My testimony follows:

Testimony on SB 4.
Against GE Tax Extension
Against Increase to TAT
August 28, 2017.

To the members of Senate Ways & Means Committee,

I am against the implementation of the extension of the GET to pay for rail. I am also against the proposed INCREASE to the TAT. Furthermore, neighbor island taxpayers should not be paying for the rail that only benefits a small sector of Honolulu’s population.

This statement addresses my OPPOSITION to SB 4 and ask that all committee members as well as all members of the State Senate and the State House of Representatives vote NO on the implementation of this legislation.

Hawaii taxpayers are paying way too much for a rail system that should have never been built in the first place. The City & County of Honolulu bit more than they can afford and it is extremely sad and frustrating that the taxpayers have to foot this gigantic and expensive bill just to perpetuate the completion of this biggest mistake of the century.

Rail is not a solution to the transportation problem. It is only a development scheme to make our lives more expensive and to further engineer and price citizens out of their private, motorized vehicles.

Transient Oriented Development (TOD) is costing long time residents who own or rent properties near the rail line more money because of higher property tax assessments that are coming down the road. Many of us are old timers on limited or fixed incomes. The TOD will price many out of their homes.

I am angry at the rail and the taxes being implemented to pay for it. No extensions, No new taxes! The people in Hawaii are angry. Vote NO on SB 4.

Thank You.