An Update From No Hawaii Beverage Tax
The 2012 state legislative session has come to a close, and once again the beverage tax was defeated! This is a big victory for the No Hawaii Beverage Tax coalition – and we wouldn’t have been successful without your support. Lawmakers have pledged to reopen the tax issue in 2013, so there is much work to be done over the next year.
The legislature has even put in place an “Obesity Task Force” that will meet during the rest of the year to come up with “solutions” to the obesity problem – which will probably include a recommendation for a beverage tax in the 2013 legislative session.
Also, the state Department of Health is expected to increase the deposit container handling fee by 50% on September 1 – to 1 ½ cent per container. We think enough is enough!
Residents of the Aloha State already have a high tax burden, and a tax on sweetened beverages would not just hit consumers in their wallets, it would also hit the folks who work in the corner stores, the drivers who deliver drinks across the islands, and the people working in our state’s bottling plants. Our lawmakers should spend more time worrying about jobs and less time worrying about what we buy at the grocery store.
We know that the government telling us what to eat and drink is a bad deal, and we'll need your help over the next year to again tell the legislature — No Hawaii Beverage Tax! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and urge your friends to join the coalition at www.NoHawaiiBeverageTax.com.
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Few favor recycling fee hike while State Paying for Non-Existent Containers
SA June 17, 2012: Hawaii's recycling rate has averaged roughly 75 percent over the past four years, compared with less than 30 percent before the program started in 2005…. (or has it?)
Higa's 2005 audit, which covered the first six months of the program, described a financial system in which transactions were not properly recorded, records were in disarray and the resulting environment was "ripe for abuse." The program typically collects more than $50 million annually in deposits and handling fees.
Legislators have raised similar concerns. The House this year passed a resolution urging DOH not to increase the handling fee until Higa completed an updated management and financial audit. No House member voted against the measure. (The only person who favors the fee hike is Reynolds Recycling…. must want to dissapate the pressure for an audit.)
"It's completely unfair to consumers and distributors," said Michelle Tang, distribution center manager for Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Hawaii. "This fee increase is just a tax hike in disguise."
… the department still hasn't changed at least one of the major flaws Higa identified. She noted that payments made to recycling centers in 2005 were based on unverified numbers, creating the potential for the state to be paying for nonexistent containers.
More than six years later, the payment system is largely unchanged, relying on unverified claims, not the actual quantity of containers recycled and shipped elsewhere for processing into other products, department officials acknowledge.
"DOH has in some cases found significant differences between the number of containers claimed for deposit refunds and the number of containers reportedly shipped later," the department wrote in a December report to the Legislature….
read … More Thieves Looting the Taxpayer