Friday, June 05, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, July 12, 2015
Clean Energy Equals $418M Tax Hike?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:01 AM :: 5131 Views :: Energy, Tax Credits, Taxes

Clean Energy Equals $418M Tax Hike?

By Tom Yamachika, President Tax Foundation Hawaii

Hawaii’s clean energy goals are the most aggressive in the nation, according to the home page of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI). Let’s find out just how aggressive some of these goals are.

Who is HCEI? It might sound like an independent nonprofit but it’s not; it’s actually a state government program under DBEDT. It’s been in the news recently because it released a draft report (written with the help of the International Council on Clean Transportation, an independent nonprofit that was awarded a $100,000 contract by DBEDT in April 2014). This 173-page report, all paid for with tax dollars, has a lot of recommendations, but we will concentrate on one of them for now.

The draft report notes that Hawaii’s fuel taxes are low compared to gasoline taxes in the European Union. (Ours were fourth highest among the U.S. states in 2014, but apparently that doesn’t matter.) The report says that using gasoline for motor vehicles has “substantial externalities” including energy security, air pollution, traffic accidents, and traffic congestion. So the State could increase the tax rate to account for the social costs and increase the cost competitiveness of technologies that use alternative fuels. It also says that because demand for gasoline is relatively inelastic in the short term, economists tend to regard gasoline taxes as an economically efficient means of raising tax revenue. It recommends that the state tax on gasoline be hoisted by up to 400%, for an additional 85 cents a gallon, which, it says, would bring in an additional $418 million per year.

Translation: Motor vehicles use fossil fuel, which is not a renewable resource so it will eventually run out. Motor vehicles also cause air pollution, traffic accidents, congestion, and other social costs that aren’t reflected in the gas price, so let’s raise taxes so drivers feel the pain and pay for those social costs. Also, alternative fuels such as biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen are expensive now so let’s make fossil fuels just as expensive. Finally, experience has shown that if you raise the price of gasoline people will still buy it, so if we slap a hefty tax on gasoline the State will rake in the dough. In other words, let’s tax gasoline through the roof because we can.

The report goes on to address “social acceptability.” Apparently the study’s authors recognize that the fuel tax is highly regressive, so they recommend giving some of this money back to low-income folks, perhaps through income tax credits, in order to make the plan “acceptable.”

One of the things our state government needs to realize is that $418 million won’t magically materialize out of thin air if lawmakers pass this tax. People who have cars will need to figure out how to pay for the higher gas bills. Businesses that transport people or goods will have to build the extra costs into prices for goods and services. People will then need to decide if they are going to buy those goods and services, buy less, or go without them. In other words, higher tax costs will ripple through the economy, and that won’t necessarily be a happy thing.

Perhaps the most jarring aspect of this study is that it’s paid for by tax money. We’re paying them to tell us that we should jack up taxes because we can? We’re paying them to tell us that if we hike our gasoline taxes 400% and rebate some of this money to the poor it’s going to be socially acceptable? Our government is supposed to be studying how to produce clean energy, not how to milk the public! Goodness knows that some lawmakers are already spending enough time on that latter issue.

- 30 -

Related: $418M 'Clean Energy' Tax Hike: Fewer flights and fewer visitors to Hawaii would be expected

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT