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Saturday, June 20, 2015
$418M 'Clean Energy' Tax Hike: Fewer flights and fewer visitors to Hawaii would be expected
By Andrew Walden @ 6:26 PM :: 6249 Views :: Energy, Environment, Tourism, Cost of Living

by Andrew Walden

Hold on to your wallet and prepare for more traffic jams--the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative is turning its attention to transportation.

Releasing a 'Draft Public Report' June 12, 2015, HCEI outlines its plan to jack up fuel taxes, make parking more expensive, increase vehicle registration fees and impose a special sales tax on new vehicles.  They also have a plan to jack up the cost of airline tickets and ocean shipping.

The tourism industry would take a major hit under HCEI tax hikes which will "provide economic incentives to reduce airline fuel consumption" by "increasing ticket prices."  (Line 2586)

HCEI blithely observes: "Fewer flights would reduce overall fuel consumption, although with anticipated impacts on Hawaii's tourism industry....  Impacts on tourism due to fewer visitors to Hawaii would be expected, although partially mitigated by reduced outward travel by residents...."

In other words, it is OK that their plan would gut the tourism industry because it would also drive Hawaii's cost of living up to the point where residents could no longer afford to leave. 

The word "tax" appears 134 times in the report.  The words "tax cut" do not appear even once.  The report evaluates the "social acceptability" of each tax hike proposal to help determine how best to deceive the public.

HCEI appears to be copying from the HART playbook.  Buried in lines 610-612, HCEI suggests adopting "complementary strategies such as ... deprioritizing expansions in roadway capacity...."  In other words, purposefully create more traffic jams.  As traffic becomes worse under HCEI, tax revenues will go up because, in line 1363-64, "...there is a rationale that users ... driving on congested roads should pay more...."

Complaining Hawaii's gasoline taxes are "very low compared to gasoline taxes in the European Union," the report proposes "an $0.85 per gallon increase in the State tax rate for gasoline and highway diesel fuels (which) could increase net fuel tax revenues by $418 million per year...."  (lines  1245-1297)

Additionally, HCEI proposes:

  • Increase barrel tax to fund government actions
  • VMT (Vehicle-miles Traveled) pricing program
  • Price parking to recoup costs

After paying at the pump, consumers will also feel the pinch in the form of higher shipping costs.  HCEI proposes several steps to make ocean shipping slower, and therefore more expensive, and also seeks to increase the cost of bunker oil used by ships by "increas(ing) bunker taxes under the barrel tax."

---30---

PDF: 'Draft Public Report'

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