Rallying Against Overtaxation

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - April 22, 2009

I wish I could say that recent tax protests around the nation and here in Hawaii will signal a definitive change in the way our government views taxing and spending. But as noble an effort as we have seen, the arrogance of the Democrat majority at the federal and state levels will not be assuaged by the voices of outrage and discontent.

The liberal left in America has it all. There is domination at the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate. In our state Legislature, just eight seats out of 76 are controlled by Republicans. Yes, Hawaii has a Republican governor, but this Legislature is doing more to prepare for, in their minds, an incoming Democrat governor next year.

There is nothing in the fibrous core of a liberal Democrat that believes the individual can make better decisions for his or her own life than the government. Taxpayers are viewed as exactly that: money machines. We are a perpetual ATM designed to fund-on-demand the programs and initiatives that Democrats believe are best for “everybody.” There is no consideration that individual families have a vision for their own futures. There is no consideration that business owners are in business to enrich their lives rather than subsidize others. There is no consideration that the removal of money is an act of disarmament. To those on the left, these concerns are inconsequential.


There are several bills before the state Legislature that will increase your taxes. Chief among them is a proposal for the state to take the counties’ Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) collections and replace the lost revenue with a county sales tax. For those of us on Oahu, this is even harder to swallow. Just last year, the state allowed the City and County of Honolulu to raise the GET by .5 percent. Not only would the immediate impact of a newly created county sales tax be felt, but a new vehicle for tax increases will be available. Just how long would it take for some enterprising liberal to make the case for another tax hike?

Whether it’s a call to raise taxes on income, tobacco or pensions, raising taxes in a suffering economy is the worst fiscal policy we should employ. Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Bush 43 understood this and launched economic recoveries after inheriting dismal financial situations.

The Tax Protests of 2009 follow a series of tax protests your columnist organized 10 years ago. Yes, we were successful in thwarting a 34 percent increase in the GET, but what has really changed since? Hawaii remains the most overtaxed state in the union. We have embarked on fiscally irresponsible projects like rail that will cost Oahu taxpayers billions.

If a Democrat does win the governorship in 2010 with a similar domination of the state Legislature, the tax increases you are seeing today will pale in comparison with what will be enacted in coming years.

The energizing attendance at the recent protests cannot be considered an accomplishment. It should be viewed as a catalyst for another chance at change.

Identify your present representative and senator. Are they representing your priorities? If not, identify their opponent. If they don’t have an opponent, consider running yourself.

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