UPDATE: NO MORE BAILOUTS FOR RAIL!
From Honolulu Republican Party, August 21, 2017
In a week, lawmakers will be opening a special legislative session to determine how they are going to raise our taxes to bailout the City’s mismanaged rail project.
Will they extend the regressive GET that negatively impacts every resident of Hawaii, will they jeopardize tourism (our #1 source of revenue) by raising the TAT, or both? Or will they stand firm that this is a City project and tell the Mayor it's his mess -- figure it out!
As you know, last Monday they held an informational hearing and even after reading and hearing testimony from hundreds of supporters and non-supporters it is still anyone's guess. We say "NO MORE TAXES!"
Here is one of our member's eyewitness testimony of last Monday’s kabuki theater...
"When we got off the elevator we were met by union members who were passing out buttons supporting the rail.
Questions from the senate and house were excellent and relentless. It got to the point where there was obvious irritation by Mayor Caldwell in what he said, the tone of his voice and body language. Many of the answers he gave solicited groans and moans and chuckles, like he was not fooling anyone.
Representative Andria Tupola expressed irritation that all three entities (Mayor, City Council and HART) were not present at the same time to answer all questions, as each seemed to pass the buck to the other.
Both the Senate and House lawmakers were visibly irritated that the mayor was once more asking for money from the State. This was mentioned more than once, along with...lack of faith, trust and confidence in either the mayor, the city council or in HART. My gut feeling is that the special session will move forward."
Immediately following the hearing Representative Tupola stated, “I was disappointed that City officials left so early and left many of our questions unanswered, which reflects how unserious they are about this issue. City and HART officials were often unable to give specific answers to our questions and rarely took responsibility for their cost overruns and inflated budgets. We were also unable to meet the new HART Executive Director who will ultimately determine the direction of this project."
This is probably why last week Honolulu City Council Budget Committee approved a resolution to conduct an “economy and efficiency” audit of its mismanaged rail project. Not surprisingly though the resolution doesn't go far enough because it would not be looking for fraud. Which also means there would be no one held accountable.
The Mayor, Honolulu City Council and HART have made a real mess of this rail project since the first 16-year tax hike took effect in 2006. Now, they are asking for another bailout.
We need to draw a line in the sand, please make your voice heard right now during this critical time before lawmakers hold the 'special session' of the state legislature.
Check out our new video which sets the record straight about this boondoggle.
Then, please sign our petition to tell State lawmakers NO MORE BAILOUTS FOR RAIL!
Finally, please start contacting your legislators and the governor today. And prepare to testify (in person if possible) against any legislation designed to make Hawaii even more of a tax nightmare.
Thank you for your support and welcome to the fight!
Honolulu County Chairman