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Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Oahu GOP: No Rail Tax Hike Special Session
By Brett Kulbis @ 1:36 AM :: 6066 Views :: Rail, Taxes


Aloha,     June 13, 2017

Last Thursday, KHON2 News reported that Governor Ige is exploring calling a special session to discuss rail funding legislation:  “The governor says he’ll be taking the role of coordinator to see if there’s enough alignment now, or if the issue will have to wait for later.”  His office told Always Investigating: ‘The governor intends to get the parties together to discuss the matter.’”

We need your kokua right away to stop this terrible idea in its tracks.

As if Democrats haven't wasted enough of our money at the State Capitol, the Honolulu City Council just gave the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) access to enough bond money to pay rail bills through next summer. (See Star Advertiser June 8, 2017.)  Money that Oahu taxpayers will be paying the interest on as well as the principal.

Republicans must stand against this mistreatment of taxpayers.  Thanks to this decade-long campaign by Democrats which began with the lowballed project costs and exaggerated rail benefits, Oahu residents have already paid far too much for this $3 billion train system; with no end in sight for the final costs of finishing the planned 34-miles (not just 20-miles) HART is already authorized to pursue.

Even worse, if this rail transit project ever gets finished, the staggering subsidy for rail operations and maintenance will easily add $120+ million annually to the backs of Oahu taxpayers, our children and grandchildren forever.  And it's already clear that this giant sum of money will come from higher taxes and serious cutbacks in City services.

Let's be honest:  Even if there is no special session between now and next year, we know that Mayor Caldwell and the City Council will simply come back again in 2018; lobbying fellow Democrats harder than ever for another multi-billion dollar bailout from the State until either the GET is extended indefinitely or the State assumes total responsibility for the troubled project.

As the party of fiscal responsibility and less taxes, we cannot just continue to allow Democrats to throw hard earned taxpayer dollars at HART with dimming prospects for anything that could be called ‘success’.  Republicans have repeatedly expressed our views for years on the rail tax issue with resolutions at our conventions and in testimony before the Honolulu City Council and the State Legislature.  Now, we need to take our advocacy to a higher and more impactful level of coordination.

In short, our elected officials need to hear from us (their employer); loud and clear and soon!

I encourage all of you to contact the governor and your legislators NOW, or sign our petition, to oppose a special session of the state legislature and to let them know we already gave them more than enough money to deliver the finished project as promised.  No more!!

Island taxpayers are already struggling from paycheck to paycheck.  Let the Governor and your elected legislators know that you oppose the continued bailout of Mayor Caldwell and HART’s grossly mismanaged boondoggle.

It’s time the silent majority got heard!

Brett Kulbis

Honolulu County Chair


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