are going to roll ...
We will have to assume that the Governor is going to let HB 1309
pass despite the business community's objections. Small business
is unanimous in their objections to the tax, the Business Roundtable
objects to the tax without a sound and acceptable plan in place,
which is also the Advertiser's position. The Chamber supports the tax,
for the "home rule" excuse, here are some thoughts.
HB 1309 is not “home rule” since it dictates to the counties precisely what
they can, and cannot, do with the taxes collected. HB 1309 states, “The …
tax shall not be used to build or
repair public roads or highways,
bicycle paths, or support public transportation
systems already in existence …” Effectively, the bill only
allows trains and thus prejudices the outcome of the Alternatives Analysis process.
Second, that HB 1309 is not “home rule,” but rather a
tax increase, is evident from the lack of a commensurate cut in the state GE
it is not “home rule” since the counties already have the authority to raise gasoline and property taxes but have
not chosen to do so. Visitors pay a
considerable portion of property
taxes and residents can deduct such property tax from federal taxes. Adopting
the property tax approach would mean a net cost to the resident community that
would be less and, in addition, it would be a progressive, instead of
that it is not “home rule” is obvious since three out of the four counties have
rejected the “home rule” that the bill supposedly offers. These counties would
only reject “home rule” if HB 1309 was not “home rule,” but rather, a tax
increase — pure and simple.
According to Councilmember Garcia, it would take a 55
cent per gallon increase in the county gasoline tax, or
a 45 percent increase in county property taxes, to raise the same tax revenue
as forecast for
HB 1309. Such large tax increases would be unacceptable to voters since it
would be obvious what it would cost them.
legislature’s sole purpose in using the GET as the tax increase vehicle is to
hide from the voters the enormity of
the tax increase needed for rail
the political establishment knows that the ˝ percent tax hike is only the
beginning of a series of tax increases that will be necessary for the rail transit line.
Mayor Hannemann had originally
stated that he needed a full one percent hike to fund a $2.64 billion line from
Kapolei to Iwilei. Since then he has expanded the line to UH, which will
increase the cost by $960 million (15 percent greater than the per mile cost of
the original line). In addition,
legislators reduced the tax increase
in HB 1309 to a ˝ percent.
For the mayor
and city council to pretend that the ˝ percent will be sufficient to fund the
rail line is nothing more than a
confidence trick they are playing on voters. The project as outlined will require
funding of up to a 1˝ percent increase to complete the rail line within the
15-year period SPREADSHEET
the rail transit plan described by the Hannemann Administration will cost $3.6
billion before cost overruns. The
federal government will provide no more
than $500-$600 million leaving $3 billion to be paid for
locally. On a per capita basis, allowing for
inflation, the Honolulu rail project’s local cost will be not only greater than
any other rail project in the history
of the U.S., it will be five times greater than the next most expensive one — San
Francisco’s BART .
for example, Houston whose $300 million rail line with a
4,700,000 population gives them costs per capita of $64. This is less than half
of the per capita cost of the Convention Center — and I couldn’t get too
excited about that either. However, Honolulu’s
rail line shows needing a local share of $3 billion to be paid by a 900,000
population, or $3,300 per capita.
And that is before cost overruns.
is a scheme that is not only crazy — it is thoroughly dishonest.
If they try to push this through, heads will deservedly roll.