Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, April 24, 2022
Stealth Taxes in 2022
By Tom Yamachika @ 6:00 AM :: 2102 Views :: Taxes

Stealth Taxes in 2022

by Tom Yamachika, President, Tax Foundation of Hawaii

Here at the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, we try to follow and report on bills proposing new taxes.  We try like heck to pick up any bill that mentions taxes, or affects the tax codes.  But that’s not enough.  Lawmakers can be very crafty and propose things that don’t look like taxes, and they sometimes fool the Hawaii State Tax Watch Doggie’s nose.  Here are some examples of recent stealth tax bills.

House Bill 2399, for example, establishes an “Extended Producer Responsibility Program” that is designed to slap a “fee” on anyone who imports or sells “fast-moving consumer goods,” which means anything non-durable like food or drink.  The fee in the current draft of the bill is $150 for each metric ton of packaging material placed in the market.  The Department of Health is tasked with administering the program.

As currently drafted, the fee could apply multiple times in the economic chain.  If Supplier A, for example, sells paper plates to Plate Lunch Truck B who sells plate lunches on the plates, then both A and B would be liable for the fee.

Worse, the bill as drafted is designed to make the law hard to find.  The bill as drafted is a “temporary” measure designed to sunset on June 30, 2028, and as such the law, if passed, won’t even be put in the Hawaii Revised Statutes.  Those who don’t already know about this law would be unlikely to find it…until it’s too late.

Some of the trade associations of affected producers testified that the Legislature established a Plastic Source Reduction Work Group in 2020, and that work group extensively debated the issues and concluded that a more careful study of producer responsibility was needed.  This bill, however, basically tells that group, “To heck with that study.  We are going to impose the tax now.”

This bill is still alive and will be debated by a House-Senate conference committee.

Senate Bill 3040, sponsored by our Department of Accounting and General Services, deals with state procurement, namely where the State buys goods and services from other businesses.  The bill directs the state procurement administrator to procure and administer automated procurement systems, and then collect a transaction fee from all vendors using those systems. 

The bill doesn’t tell us how much the fee is going to be.  Rather, it gives the State Procurement Office the authority to set the fee to cover procurement automation system costs.  The Procurement Office in its testimony estimated that those costs would be $5 million to set up the system and thereafter $500,000 to $1 million per year in maintenance and licensing fees.

The bill does not make it mandatory for any vendor to use the system – but we think that’s the logical next step.

This bill is also set to go to a House-Senate conference.

Last year, the Department of Land and Natural Resources was pushing Senate Bill 1173, an “Ocean Stewardship User Fee,” which would have extracted an extra dollar from each passenger or customer using or riding on commercial vessels water craft, or water sports equipment.  The moneys in the fund were to be used for marine resource conservation, marine resource impact mitigation measures, and replacing mooring buoys and other infrastructure.  Oh, and 20% of it would go to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as ceded land revenues.

Interestingly, the bill also contained a provision saying that the fee wouldn’t count as a gross receipt for commercial vessel operators who need to pay the State a monthly fee based on gross receipts.

That bill was proposed in 2021 and carried over to the current legislative session.  However, that bill never made it out of House Finance Committee.

Taxes come in many sizes and shapes.  Can you find them all?



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