Friday, July 19, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, August 14, 2016
The Little Engine that Could?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:01 AM :: 3940 Views :: Taxes

The Little Engine that Could?

by Tom Yamachika, President Tax Foundation Hawaii

When we think about everything that is happening with government and public finance, it’s daunting to add up the numbers that are being bandied about – a hundred million to cool the schools, billions in unfunded liabilities for our state retirement plans, and the untold billions required to run our government on an annual basis. Where does all that money come from?

Consider this. A person goes to the store to buy goods. The store buys those goods from a manufacturer and pays workers to run the store. The manufacturer buys raw materials and pays workers to manufacture products. The raw materials supplier pays workers to mine the materials and goes to the store to buy other needed supplies. The workers need to eat, buy goods, and so forth. So everyone recycles the money they receive. This recycling system looks like an engine with money whirling around and around. Tax revenue is produced at each stage of the economic cycle, either on the sales, on the net profit, or other taxable transactions that make up the cycle. The faster the engine spins, the more tax revenue is produced.

Now here is a question for our lawmakers and policy makers to consider as they work to make Hawaii a better place to live, work and do business. Are you taking care of our engine? Not just spending the money that comes out of it, but are you really taking care of the engine? After all, government can make it easier or harder for the engine to spin.

Take, for example, the engine called “construction.” Construction needs to be done or supervised by responsible people, so we require them to have education and experience, and we require proof of financial responsibility like an insurance bond. Then the particular construction project needs permits, some of which need to traverse a labyrinth of agencies before all of the necessary approvals can be obtained. The length of time it takes to get construction permits in Hawaii is legendary. Certainly, there are very good reasons for all or most of the permitting requirements, but what effect do they have on the engine?

What about opening a business here in Hawaii and hiring employees? Potential employers are immediately faced with a mountain of paperwork and an ever-growing list of associated costs. They register to pay taxes, secure prepaid health care, get worker’s compensation, buy temporary disability insurance, register for unemployment coverage while also having to worry about business decisions such as a location for the business and perhaps associated rent, getting the lights turned on and computers in the office, and so on. Once all of these requirements have been addressed, then maybe some business can be done. Certainly, there are very good reasons for all or most of the employer requirements, but what effect do they have on the engine?

And then, of course, there is business itself. Our elected and appointed officials impose new fees and regulations on this or that activity all in the name of making our environment and community a better, greener, or safer place to live. The fees and regulations carry a cost, of course, not only directly but also in the time required to learn the rules and regulations so the business can comply with them. Certainly, there are very good reasons for all or most of the fees and regulations, but what effect do they have on the engine?

So what do we have in Hawaii? A little engine that can? A little engine that could? We need an engine that does.


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


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


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

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


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

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii