Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, January 30, 2015
Okino, Djou: End the State Skim on Rail Funds
By News Release @ 6:27 PM :: 6171 Views :: Rail

The following letter has been sent to all State Legislators and Honolulu Councilmembers:

February 2, 2015

To: All State Senators and Representatives

Re: End the State Skim on Rail Funds

Dear Senators and Representatives,

The Honolulu rail transit project has been and continues to be the most controversial infrastructure program in recent Hawaii history. One of us (Okino), was the principal advocate for rail when the City Council originally authorized the project. While the other (Djou), lead the opposition to rail on the council. Both of us, however, respect that the voters spoke in favor of the system at the ballot box and both of us are troubled at how the rail system is now being handled.

Now, before the first train has carried the first passenger, the $5.5 bil. project is already projected to run upwards of$900 mil. over-budget. While we can continue to debate the merits of rail, the reality is that this project is here and being built.  Our community needs to find a way to make the rail system work responsibly and with financial prudence.

Multiple proposals are being pushing to make the .5% general excise tax increase permanent to cover the near billion dollar short fall in the rail system. But this is a betrayal of what the proponents of the rail system promised - that the largest tax increase in Hawaii history would be "temporary."

Rather than immediately move toward implementing another round of tax increases and forcing Hawaii residents to continue paying beyond what was promised, there is an easier solution that doesn't require more taxes - stop the state 10% skim off of rail funds.

In an act of Machiavellian politics, the rail tax increase was passed by allowing the State to skim the first 10% of the City's rail funds for the State. The City government takes all of the risk and does all of the work on rail, but the state government carved for itself a 10% skim off the top of all local tax funds generated for rail for no reason but simple greed. The Legislature did so because it could, and this is wrong; we ask that you correct this wrong.

A major dent in closing the near billion dollar deficit in the rail project could be accomplished by merely returning the unjustified State taking of the City's rail tax funding. (Keep in mind the State's skim only takes tax money from Oahu residents and redistributes it across Hawaii, including the neighbor islands, for projects totally unrelated to transportation.) Any remaining deficit balance in rail funding then can be made up, as promised, by Hawaii's congressional delegation.

What we are asking for is simple common sense and basic fairness. The Legislature should return the unjustified skim before moving forward on any extension of the general excise tax increase.

Local residents deserve an accountable and responsible government, especially with the spending of billions of dollars on rail. That's why the time has come for the State to end its skim off of rail funds. We ask that you join us in helping find a way of saving the rail system, restoring responsible accountability to our government, without placing more taxes on our people.

Aloha,

Charles Djou, Honolulu City Councilmember, District IV (2003-2010)

Gary Okino, Honolulu City Councilmember, District VIII (2000-2011)

cc: Councilmembers, Honolulu City Council

PDF: Original Letter

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii