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1993 Hawaii Water Law Symposium
Annual Meeting
Statement on Resolution 93-67 [timeliness of appearance]
Testimony on HB 1056 [military facilities conversion] (Rhoda Miller)
Letter to Roy Takumi (House Bill 767 - Toys) (Arlene Ellis)
Letter to Transportation Committee (Vehicle Tax) (Arlene Ellis)
Annual Reports - Council and Charter Review Committee (Jean Aoki)
Annual Reports - Voter Service (Jacqueline Vogt)

Letter to Transportation Committee (Vehicle Tax)

March 12, 1993

Chair Paul Oshiro and Members Transportation Committee
Room 1007, State Office Tower
235 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Dear Representative Oshiro & Members:

Historically, the State Legislature (even as a Territory) has operated on the concept that we will not tax personal property, as is the practice in States such as California and Washington. S.B. 1765, S.D. 1 which permits a county to impose county vehicle ad valorem tax in place of the current county vehicular, weight tax is such a tax. This ad valorem tax on vehicles, while less regressive than the weight tax, is an additional tax that will bear heavily on the disadvantaged as well as many businesses.

Will the low- and middle-income vehicle owner pay less than he now does, while the high-income earner pays more, keeping in mind that this tax is over and above fees paid to the State? What is an adequate level of taxation? How much will the tax raise? How much is enough? If the total collected under this tax substantially exceed the current total collected under the vehicle weight system, we can construe that this switch in method of taxation has less to do with the equability for taxpayers than a method of raising additional revenue. If in fact, the City is using this means to fund the rail project after the city Council rejected the 1/2% GET surcharge as an unacceptable burden to the low- and middle-income families, this back door method is just as onerous.

It is important that the State legislators realize that should. this Bill pass and the ensuing county ordinance produce $25 to $30 million rather than the $112 million needed for rail, State participation will be required. Surely, with State finances in dire straits, there are more important priorities for expending State funds.

As the Senate Standing Committee report #773 on March 3 stated, proper public hearings should be held specifically to address the many concerns associated with a fixed rail system and the use of an ad valorem tax to finance that project.

Arlene Kim Ellis
President, LWV of Honolulu

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