The State’s Gas Tax Money Grab

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - December 27, 2006

This is not going to be a “Happy New Year” for the Hawaii taxpayer. As a matter of fact, it isn’t going to be too pleasant for the foreseeable future.

The recent headlines regarding the cost of gasoline jumping another 11 cents per gallon after Jan. 1 is the gift given to you by your government. Consider it the coal in the stocking.

I know we should be grateful that we are paying only $2.70 per gallon. I mean, it is better than the $3.90 we were paying awhile back. So, another dime or so more? What’s the big deal?

Here’s the big deal. The public’s ire toward oil companies and gas stations is misplaced. The real culprit in the escalation of prices at the pump is government. After the first of the year, the government will capture 61.5 cents per gallon in taxes. This is cold, hard cash from your pocket. This figure places our gas taxes at the highest in the nation, and the dubious honor of having the most expensive pump price is destined to continue.

At the highest level of taxation, you should see the benefits of your money at work. The primary responsibility of the state and county tax is to provide highways and roads. At the rate we are paying, we should have pristine streets and freeways. Existing roads should be maintained to keep them in top-notch condition.

But the sad reality is we have some of the worst roads in the country, and Hawaii’s reputation for inadequate capacity and sub-standard conditions is legendary.

Here is the bottom line on the bottom line. When government bemoans the price of fuel and calls on the oil companies to do something about it, remind your representative that he or she shares greater responsibility for the cost of gas than the guy who runs a Chevron station. If you are looking for true price relief at the pump, tell your government to get its hands out of your pocket and gas tank.

The first step is to demand the permanent tax credit for the use of ethanol. At the inception of the ethanol project, fuel companies were given a tax credit to facilitate the conversion. Now the tax credit is set to end Jan. 1. This means 11 cents more per gallon to you, the consumer. The state should continue this tax break and stop this voracious money grab from businesses and taxpayers.

Eventually, Hawaii will be transformed into a true community of the haves and have-nots. In the near future, only the extremely wealthy will be able to afford to live here, and the working poor will remain and benefit from the insane tax-and-spend policies of the Democrat majority. Families like mine and yours will continue to be taxed and taxed and taxed to the point where we will have to leave Hawaii in order to provide the best opportunity for our kids. I would hate to see that happen.

But look at the signs. Property taxes, food cost, fuel prices, income tax, GET increase and the inevitable increase in all possible taxes to construct and maintain that multibillion-dollar train.

There is no end in sight for the demands on your money. After you pay the highest taxes in the nation, what are you left with? After the federal government takes its share, you have the state and then the county to deal with. How much do you have to now take care of your needs and desires?

I wish we could see just one payday where every taxpayer is paid their gross pay; every wage earner would be given their check with no deductions. It would then be necessary to sit down and pay each and every tax and fee, one by one. Only then will taxpayers truly understand the insidiousness of overtaxation and the crippling effect it has on our community.

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