Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, February 19, 2017
The Need for Tax Vigilance in 2017
By Tom Yamachika @ 4:01 AM :: 1821 Views :: Taxes

The Need for Tax Vigilance in 2017

By Tom Yamachika, President, Tax Foundation Hawaii

It's been a month into the legislative session. The sheer number of bills related to tax or public finance is staggering. It's much more frenetic this year than in any other year I've been in this position, and my sentiments are shared with some of the rules attorneys from the Department of Taxation who cover many of the same matters at the legislature as I do.

This year, there appear to be many different and creative approaches to public financing. For taxpayers, that means that people are coming up with new ways for the government to get more out of your pocketbook.  So, this is a year to be especially vigilant.  Here are some examples of the tax bills moving through the system:

The Honolulu rail surcharge extension bill is morphing into a strange and dangerous monster. One version of the bill now includes, in addition to a perpetual extension of the surcharge and an outright grab of part of the money to feed the Department of Transportation, a 12.5% increase in the general excise tax rate, from 4% to 4.5%. That means the tax on Oahu would go up to 5%, and people would start seeing a tax of 5.263% on their store receipts.

The teachers' bill for education funding includes a whopping surcharge in the real property tax for any property that is residential and is not the owner's primary home. For a property on Oahu just shy of $1 million in value, for example, the tax due would go from $3,500 to $9,000.  This bill can’t go into effect without a constitutional amendment, so lawmakers may be tempted to let the measure pass and let the voters decide its fate.

Another bill would quadruple the conveyance tax, which is charged whenever real property as bought and sold. Under that bill, the top rate goes from $1.25 to $5.00 per $100 in price.

There are several bills moving that would modify our individual income tax rates. Many would reinstate the 9%, 10%, and 11% rates that we just got rid of at the end of 2015.  Some of these bills are tied to enhanced credits to provide poverty relief, but other bills just tinker with the rates. For some reason, the rates for corporations, estates, and trusts are all left alone, as is the 7.25% rate on capital gains for individuals.

One bill would add hefty surcharges on traffic fines earmarked for law enforcement. The money is expected to go to law enforcement only, and wouldn't be available for K-12 education, natural resource conservation, homelessness, or anything else. It might not be called a tax, but the result will be more money from people’s wallets going to the government.

And then, our department of transportation is continuing its quest to jack up the fuel tax (this year they want six cents more per gallon of gasoline), the vehicle weight tax, and the vehicle registration fee. The latter two taxes would add $65 or so to the annual registration cost of a small car…and that doesn’t consider the county weight tax and fees, which could get bumped up by county government.

Last but not least, there is a substantial contingent of people who are so worried about Obamacare being repealed at the federal level that they want it written into Hawaii law. That would include an individual mandate, similar to the federal one, that is enforced through the Hawaii income tax system.

All of this goes to show that you probably want to be watching the legislature like a hawk this year. Remember, you won’t be able to influence the result if you don’t participate in the process.


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii


Affordable Hawaii Coalition


Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii


DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


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


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 Senate Informer

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Hawaii Votes

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling


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


Hump Day Report

Hunting, Farming and Fishing Assoc.

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


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


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



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

OHA Lies

Ohana Policy Group


Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii



Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii


SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Copenull

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

TEA Party Maui

TFB Micronesia

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

United Veterans Hawaii

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii