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Sunday, September 1, 2019
Thirty Years of State Tax, Part 1
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4001 Views :: Hawaii History, Taxes

...the taxes that have changed the most dramatically in the past 30 years....

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Sunday, August 25, 2019
Loophole On the Way to the Top of Mauna Kea?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 6719 Views :: Hawaii County , Greenmail, Higher Education, Law Enforcement, OHA

...Criminal laws are still in force, even as to Hawaiian protesters demonstrating on Hawaiian home lands....

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Sunday, August 18, 2019
Leadership on the Mauna
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 6611 Views :: Hawaii County , Greenmail, Higher Education, OHA, Politicians

...Leadership entails not only planning for possible obstructions to your chosen plan of action, but also having the resolve to follow through with your plan....

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Sunday, August 11, 2019
Soft on Crime – Because of the Money
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4239 Views :: Kauai County, Law Enforcement

...The ability to drive a car is a privilege, not a right.... 

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Sunday, August 4, 2019
Withholding, the Root of All Evil?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3023 Views :: Taxes

...Withholding is making someone who isn’t liable for tax, but who pays money to someone who is, responsible for collecting and paying the tax to the government.... 

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Sunday, July 28, 2019
A Veil of Secrecy Around Revenue Estimates
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3680 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government

...attempt by a government agency to shroud its operations in the shadows....

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Sunday, July 21, 2019
The Special Land and Development Fund
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3824 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Small Business

...Stop shooting the messenger and concentrate on cleaning house!....

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Sunday, July 14, 2019
So What Really Is a Resort Fee?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4674 Views :: Taxes, Tourism

...we are starting to see laws passed in the 2019 Legislature take effect....

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Sunday, July 7, 2019
Do We Have a Legitimate Government?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3500 Views :: Hawaii History

...It pains me to read stories of people who lost their homes after being told that they didn’t have to pay back their mortgages because the laws under which they were made were invalid in Hawaii....

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Sunday, June 30, 2019
The Tax on Ghost Homes
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 5884 Views :: Development, Land Use, Taxes

... a vacant home fee of 5% or 10% ....

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Sunday, June 23, 2019
It’s the Economy, Stupid
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4930 Views :: Economy, Taxes

...Recently, we have been getting lots of news about our economy here in the islands, and none of it has been good....

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Sunday, June 16, 2019
HI-5 – Have We Stopped the Leakage Yet?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4819 Views :: Environment, Ethics, Small Business

...“Look. We’ve issued four audit reports on the program...."

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Sunday, June 9, 2019
DOE, Fork Over That General Ledger!
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4203 Views :: Education K-12, Ethics

...the Education Institute of Hawaii that wants to see the general ledger for the whole Department of Education....

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Sunday, June 2, 2019
Shining Light on Revenue Estimates
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4106 Views :: Economy, Taxes

...DOTAX justified the shroud of darkness surrounding its revenue projections with a theory, derived from federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law, called “deliberative process privilege.”....

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Sunday, May 26, 2019
The “Rail Skim” Suit: We Lost the Battle, Taxpayers Won the War
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 5846 Views :: Ethics, Rail, Taxes

...A long time ago the Tax Foundation of Hawaii sued the State....

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Sunday, May 19, 2019
Gut-n-Replace 2019
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 6660 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government, Taxes, Tourism

...the law’s discrimination against nonresidents was prohibited by a part of the U.S. Constitution that the deputy attorney general didn’t consider.  “Oops,” the deputy said....

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Sunday, May 12, 2019
A Threat to Judicial Independence
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4012 Views :: Ethics, Judiciary

... We control the purse strings, so we said no to a lot of their money. They reversed some of their decisions. We gave them some money. So the tension worked ....

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Sunday, May 5, 2019
Carbon Credits
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 6750 Views :: Energy, Environment, Tax Credits, Taxes

... Department of Land and Natural Resources is doing a reforestation project in East Maui. It’s hired a vendor to certify the project for “carbon credits.” Why are they doing that if we don’t even have a carbon tax ....

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Sunday, April 28, 2019
OHA’s LLCs: The Noose Is Tightening
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4415 Views :: Ethics, OHA

...OHA assets cannot be shielded from accountability (to both the Trustees and the general public) simply by tossing them into LLCs....

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Sunday, April 21, 2019
HIDOE Achieves Success with Job Order Contracting
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3897 Views :: Education K-12

...they just make a list of the projects and call them “deferred maintenance”....

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Sunday, April 14, 2019
Blankety Blank
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4028 Views :: Taxes

...No, that isn’t a cuss word. It’s just the facts, ma’am....

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Sunday, April 7, 2019
Revenue Raisers Already Sent to the Governor
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4854 Views :: Taxes, Tourism

...our legislature has a dogged focus on new taxes....

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Sunday, March 31, 2019
Judgments Aren’t Necessarily the End of Litigation
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 6024 Views :: Judiciary, Taxes, Tourism

...Before the ink was dry on those judgments, the Department of Taxation produced additional assessments against the taxpayers, this time on car rental commissions....

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Sunday, March 24, 2019
Post Those Tax Returns, Darn It!
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3252 Views :: Ethics

...if we think it’s such a great idea, why don’t we apply it to state executives, judges, or legislators?....

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Thursday, March 21, 2019
Hawaii Supreme Court Rejects Rail Surcharge Lawsuit
By Tom Yamachika @ 6:11 PM :: 5682 Views :: Ethics, Rail, Taxes

"...Despite the rejection of the Supreme Court of Hawaii, our efforts were key in the legislature’s decision to drop the skim from 10% to 1% during the 2017 Special Session—this was a win for all taxpayers in this State...."

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Sunday, March 17, 2019
Blank the Amount, Defect the Date
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 6036 Views :: Education K-12, Ethics, Higher Education, Taxes

"SB 1474 Senate Draft 2 that proposes an increase in the GET now specifies '__ per cent or $ _____'"

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Sunday, March 10, 2019
Can’t You Spare Half a Penny for Education?
By Tom Yamachika @ 4:00 AM :: 4375 Views :: Education K-12, Taxes

...what we really need to do is fix the inefficiency....

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Sunday, March 3, 2019
Beware of Tax Software?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3708 Views :: Taxes

...individuals, gritting and gnashing their teeth, scour through their financial records and begin the arduous process.... 

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Sunday, February 24, 2019
Individual Development Accounts, Version 2.0
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3690 Views :: Cost of Living

...If an eligible person deposits money into the account, a sponsor such as a government agency matches the deposit....

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Sunday, February 17, 2019
Squirreling Away Money at the Dept. of Transportation
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4930 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government, Taxes

...The auditor found that they have lots of money lying around. More than $120 million in accounts that haven’t been even touched for five years....

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Sunday, February 10, 2019
Creativity Abounds at our Legislature, Pt. 2
By Tom Yamachika @ 4:00 AM :: 2891 Views :: Taxes

...creative tax-related bills at our legislature....

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Sunday, February 3, 2019
Tax Hike Creativity Abounds at our Legislature
By Tom Yamachika @ 4:00 AM :: 2977 Views :: Taxes

...This year, our legislature once again is poised to consider revenue raising – namely, taxes in new and creative ways....

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Sunday, January 27, 2019
Ask Not for Whom the H-1 Tolls…
By Tom Yamachika @ 4:00 AM :: 4361 Views :: Honolulu County, Taxes

...Recently, we have heard the term “congestion pricing” bandied about as a way of improving traffic congestion here, and of raising more money....

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Sunday, January 20, 2019
DOE’s Repair Backlog Is How Much Again?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3791 Views :: Education K-12, Ethics

...In a budget briefing at the legislature at about this time last year, Department of Education officials reported that their backlog of repair and maintenance jobs was $293 million, and they were patting themselves on the back because it was a significant drop from the $392 million reported in 2010....

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Sunday, January 13, 2019
Zero-Based Budgeting
By Tom Yamachika @ 6:00 AM :: 3636 Views :: Hawaii State Government

...Today, we examine “zero-based budgeting,” an idea that has been around for a while but was recently championed by House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke....  

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Sunday, January 6, 2019
So Did You Meet Your Goals This Year? -- Um, We Dunno
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3478 Views :: Hawaii State Government

... the agencies are supposed to come up with a “variance report” that is supposed to list how much they were budgeted, how much was spent, and a narrative explanation for any significant difference ....

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Sunday, December 30, 2018
No, Killing a Special Fund Doesn’t Kill People
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 5030 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government, Taxes

...DLNR needs to understand that the money in these funds isn’t “their” money. It’s taxpayer money....

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Sunday, December 23, 2018
Carbon Tax: Will You Fiddle While Paris Burns?
By Tom Yamachika @ 4:00 AM :: 7249 Views :: Energy, Environment, Tax Credits, Taxes

...If enacted, the carbon tax would be the fifth special tax imposed on fuel....

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Sunday, December 16, 2018
The County Strikes Back (part 4)
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 5460 Views :: Maui County, Taxes, Tourism

...We continue with our series about a timeshare association suing Maui County seeking to invalidate its “Time Share” property classification, with the county then striking back.... 

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Sunday, December 9, 2018
The County Strikes Back (part 3)
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:01 AM :: 5535 Views :: Maui County, Taxes, Tourism

...We continue with our series about a timeshare association suing the county, with the county then back assessing the association for $10 million.... 

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Sunday, December 2, 2018
The County Strikes Back (part 2)
By Tom Yamachika @ 4:00 AM :: 5622 Views :: Maui County, Taxes, Tourism

...Timeshare association sues county; county then back assesses association for $10 million.... 

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Monday, November 26, 2018
The County Strikes Back (part 1)
By Tom Yamachika @ 2:03 PM :: 5634 Views :: Maui County, Taxes, Tourism

...a long and hotly litigated property tax case from Maui....

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Sunday, November 18, 2018
Walden versus OHA’s LLCs
By Tom Yamachika @ 4:00 AM :: 5573 Views :: Ethics, OHA

...These companies received cash and property, including 1,600+ acres of land in Waimea Valley, from OHA....

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Sunday, November 11, 2018
Oh? Can’t We Keep HART’s Funding Sources “Pure”?
By Tom Yamachika @ 4:00 AM :: 4937 Views :: Rail, Taxes

...For a long time, I was wondering what the authors of 07-001 were smoking....

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Sunday, November 4, 2018
It’s Real Property Because We Said So!
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 6091 Views :: Maui County, Energy, Taxes

...a case now pending in the Hawaii Supreme Court that may give us some insight on county real property taxes and their limits....

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Sunday, October 28, 2018
Take-Aways from the “Con-Am” Argument
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3617 Views :: Taxes

...a prior Hawaii Supreme Court case, Cieri v. Leticia Query Realty, 80 Haw. 54 (1995), said, “[R]eal estate is, particularly in Hawai`i, both scarce and expensive. As a result, the purchase of real estate or a residence likely is the largest ‘investment’ a person in Hawai`i may make in a lifetime.”....

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Sunday, October 21, 2018
Do We Really Have a Spending Ceiling?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4514 Views :: Hawaii History, Taxes

...another provision that was passed by the 1978 Constitutional Convention to assure our fiscal health—and what our lawmakers have done to marginalize it....

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Sunday, October 14, 2018
General Income Tax Credit: How Legislators Subverted Will of 1978 ConCon
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 5146 Views :: Hawaii History, Tax Credits

...The saga of this credit tells us a little about a bold move undertaken in the 1978 Constitutional Convention and our lawmakers’ reaction....

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Sunday, October 7, 2018
Guess Which Agency May Be Forgoing Millions in Federal Dollars?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:01 AM :: 5001 Views :: Education K-12, Health Care, Taxes

...It is very tempting for a DOE administrator to think, “There’s no benefit for us if we do all this work because the Legislature needs to fund us anyway...."

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Sunday, September 30, 2018
Guess Which Agency Can Impose State Tax?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:01 AM :: 7021 Views :: Education K-12, Development, Taxes, Cost of Living

...This law, which we have discussed before, recently has been used to create a “school impact district” that goes from Kalihi to Ala Moana.... 

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