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Thursday, October 28, 2010
Can’t say no: Hanabusa’s Tax-raising record
By News Release @ 6:30 PM :: 8027 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics


The Associated Press profiled the highly-competitive race for Hawaii's First Congressional District yesterday and quoted Colleen Hanabusa as saying:

"You don't just vote 'no' because you want to vote 'no.' You have to think about how it affects the people. We'll make sure we get the biggest bang for our buck."

It's worth noting that Hanabusa is speaking of "voting no" only in theory.   In the past four years (at least), she did not encounter a single tax increase, government regulation or pay raise that she thought fell short of getting "the biggest bang" for Hawaii taxpayers' bucks.

Similarly, she's been a devout, outspoken and unflinching cheerleader for every major spending initiative the House has passed in the last two years, including the so-called "stimulus" package.

A natural follow-up question might be: Do you believe the taxpayers of Hawaii got the 'biggest bang for our buck' with an $800 billion stimulus package that...

  • Was questioned from the outset by experts for being "larded with spending on existing social programs, or hastily designed new ones, much of it permanent or probably permanent - and not enough of it likely to create new jobs"? (Washington Post, 2/1/2009)
  • Resulted in $22.3 million flowing by mistake to people that were either deceased or incarcerated? (Wall Street Journal, 10/7/2010)
  • Paid for road signs that were literally blank? (Longboat Key News, 9/25/2010)
  • Funded projects like a $172,500 study to plan the rehabilitation of a dairy farm? (Florida Times-Union, 8/26/2010)
  • Paid for ten $4,000 trash cans in Indiana that are solar-powered? (Indiana Public Media, 4/22/2010)
  • Did not create 3 to 4 million jobs by the end of 2010 as predicted?
  • That did not keep the unemployment rate from going above 8 percent as promised?

There are hundreds of wasteful and ineffective projects contained in the so-called "stimulus."

So when Hanabusa says that we have to "make sure we get the biggest bang for our buck"...what exactly does she mean?

  • In March 1999, Hanabusa said that her constituents would be hurt by a proposed increase of the general excise tax: “Asked her stand on the proposal by Sens. Bob Nakata (D, Kaneohe) and Brian Taniguchi (D,Manoa) to raise the 4.0 percent general excise tax to 5.35 percent to aid education, Hanabusa [State Senator Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii)] replies that she is in favor of the discussion the initiative has engendered… She says her constituents would be hurt by an excise tax increase…” (Mike Yuen, “Economy senator’s primary concern,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 31, 1999)
  • Yet, in March 2009, Hanabusa herself voted for an increase of Hawaii’s general excise tax (GET), a tax imposed on Hawaii’s businesses (2009 Senate Bill 1346, Hawaii Votes website,, March 12, 2009)

Higher taxes for all businesses:

  • Hanabusa’s vote raises taxes on businesses, the backbone of the American economy: “The general excise tax… is a tax levied on gross income (i.e., total business income before any business expenses are deducted) derived from business activity in Hawaii… ‘First, the general excise tax is imposed on the business instead of on the customer. Rather than merely acting as tax collectors, businesses are themselves taxed on their income. The general excise tax, therefore, is considered to be an expense which businesses incur in the normal course of doing business in Hawaii, along with other expenses such as labor costs, utility bills, supplies, cost of inventory, and the like… Second, the general excise tax is levied on gross income from almost all types of business activities. These include sales of tangible personal property at both wholesale and retail, services, contracting, commissions, interest, lease or rental activities, and more.” (“General Excise vs. Sales Tax,” Tax Fact No. 96-1, Hawaii Department of Taxation website,, Revised July 2000)

“Colleen Hanabusa threatens Hawaii’s workforce by strangling businesses with regulations and taxes that keep them from creating jobs.  Hanabusa’s job-killing record will only skyrocket our unemployment rate further and won’t bring much needed economic recovery to Hawaii.”- Joanna Burgos, NRCC Spokeswoman

Hanabusa Supports Reckless Government Spending and Irresponsible Bailouts

Colleen Hanabusa and her Washington Democrat friends have consistently criticized Charles Djou for his vote against the $26 billion dollar state bailout bill.  What they don’t say is that the bill did not save schools from being shut down rather forced an already cash-strapped federal government to bail out special interests just in time for the midterm elections.  Even worse, the money was pulled from the food stamp program which is dedicated to helping those struggling the most during this economic recovery. 

Can the hard working people of Hawaii afford politically motivated handouts?  More importantly, do our keiki deserve to be stuck with the bill for our federal government’s irresponsible spending spree?

Hanabusa Cannot Say No to Bad Bills

During the recent congressional debates, including this clip from KITV’s congressional debate, Hanabusa clearly showed how out of touch she was with bills that were heard by Congress this session, bills that had the potential to cost taxpayers thousands of dollars a year.  Worst of all, she could not name a bill she would vote “no” on.

Examples of those kinds of bills include the hugely controversial health care reform bill, rammed through Congress by Congressional Democrats earlier this year. 

Renowned Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, in a column in the Washington Post called this bill “bad news,” saying it means “higher taxes, less health care and no protection if [Americans] lose their current insurance because of unemployment or early retirement.” 

Hanabusa’s roundabout answer in the KITV debate suggests she is unprepared and unfamiliar with Congressional legislation and we can expect that to remain the same if she is elected.  She will follow her Party lock-step, vote “Yes” with every government-expanding, fiscally reckless and completely unnecessary piece of legislation and simply be a rubber stamp for Democrats in Congress.

Hawaii needs a leader that is more than just a rubber stamp for the status quo.



Colleen Hanabusa said in one of her recent advertisements that she is the kind of politician that, “What you see is what you’ll get.” Since she asked for it, let’s take a look at her record…



“The next time you make a purchase and wonder why it’s so expensive, thank Colleen Hanabusa for imposing yet another tax on you.”- Joanna Burgos, NRCC Spokeswoman



“Anyone who drives a car will be slapped with her taxes and fees, thanks to Colleen Hanabusa. Has she ever seen a tax she doesn’t like?” - Joanna Burgos, NRCC Spokeswoman


  • In 2009, Hanabusa voted for an increase of Hawaii’s annual barrel tax on petroleum products. (H.B. 1271, Measure History, Hawaii State Legislature website,, Accessed Jan. 7, 2010)
  • Hanabusa’s vote would raise the annual barrel-tax burden on airlines by about $2.75 million: “A late push by the airline industry helped persuade the state Senate yesterday not to override a veto of a bill that would have raised the barrel tax on petroleum products by $1 to help pay for food and energy security programs and Gov. Linda Lingle's clean energy initiative… The higher tax would have been felt by interisland airlines and carriers that have flights from the Neighbor Islands… State House and Senate leaders believed as late as yesterday morning that they had the votes to override Lingle's veto. The governor objected to the bill because it would have raised energy costs at a time when families and business owners are struggling through the recession.” (Derrick DePledge, “Hawaii Legislature allows veto of oil tax, overrides 38 others,” The Honolulu Advertiser, July 16, 2009)
  • It would also increase the price of gasoline by two to three cents per gallon by increasing the state tax on a barrel of oil from five cents to $1.05. (Richard Borreca, “Override on energy tax fails,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 16, 2009)


“The more we learn about Colleen Hanabusa’s record, the more we see how hurtful her policies would be for Hawaii’s middle class families, small businesses and the tourism industry. Hawaii cannot afford Hanabusa in Washington.”- Joanna Burgos, NRCC Spokeswoman

Higher taxes for middle-class families and small businesses



“For Hawaii families and businesses who rely on so many commodities from the mainland, Colleen Hanabusa’s vote to raise taxes on those purchases caused an incredibly large burden on everyone’s pocketbook. The more we learn about Colleen Hanabusa’s record, the more we see how hurtful her policies have been and will be if elected to Congress.”- Joanna Burgos, NRCC Spokeswoman


Hanabusa’s Tax-Raising Record


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