China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce ®
Hong Kong.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce ®
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Hawaii Public Radio Station FM 89.3

“Business Beyond the Reef” to discuss the problems with imports from China, telling all sides of the story and then expand the discussion to revitalizing Chinatown

Special Guest: Johnson Choi, MBA, RFC. President - Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc)
Special Guest: Danny Au, Manager, Bo Wah Trading

Listen to streaming audio

Click Here to take survey after the Radio Show

Sept 4 2007 5:00 - 6:00pm Honolulu Hawaii
(China & Hong Kong SAR time: Sept 5 2007 11:00am - 12noon)
(West Coast USA time: Sept 4 2007 8:00 - 9:00pm)
(East Coast USA time: Sept 4 2007 11:00pm - 12 midnight)

July 12, 2005

Topic - Increase GET (General Excise Tax) from 4% to 4.5%, an increase of 12.5% moving Hawaii to the highest taxed State in the United States

81% of Chamber Members Voted Against increase of GET!

Definition of Sales Tax Verses Hawaii's General Excise Tax (GET)

A sales tax is a tax imposed on consumers who buy goods at retail.

A general excise tax is imposed on the businesses instead of the customer.

Hawai'i does not have a sales tax; instead, the state has a general excise tax that is assessed on all business activities, including retail sales, commissions, rental income and services. Businesses pass along the cost of the tax to their customers.

The general excise tax rate varies depending on the business activity:

0.15 percent on insurance commissions,

0.5 percent on wholesale sales and

4 percent on most activities at the consumer level

Listing of Chamber Members providing written comments (names are withheld) only!

Yes/No Comments / Reasons **
NO I commute to downtown daily from the west side, the proposed rail will not solve the traffic problem, the problem is due to several key choke points and to the added traffic during school sessions, fix the choke points and the traffic will flow.increase taxes and the donations to politicians will flow from the contractors to build a project that given our history will not be completed on time and will go way over budget and in the end not carry very many passengers requiring the tax payer stuck in traffic that could have been fixed to subsidize the empty rail system.
NO This is an increase in GET, not sales tax.  Please consider the multiple effects.
NO To add my voice to your survey, I strongly object to the 1/2% increase to the excise tax to pay for mass transportation for two reasons:

First, because the Hawaii excise tax system is a "pyramiding" one added at every level of production and distribution, therefore, will increase our cost of living by several percent, and not just a 1/2% in the aggregate. Our cost of living, thanks to overflated housing and shipping costs, is already among the highest in the nation. We do not need to add to the burden faced by every resident living here.

Second, I do not think mass transit is necessarily the only way to reduce traffic congestion. When there was a prolonged bus strike in 2003, people with no other transportation options, began to buy used & new cars. Once people own cars, they are not easily weaned away from them in favor of public transport. Hence, the shrinking ridership on public buses and falling revenues requiring increased fares, leading to further depression in ridership. A vicious cycle. Mass transit systems seldom pay their own way. We don`t operate anything efficiently in Hawaii, thanks to strong labor unions. Will there be another 1/2% increase in excise taxes down the road when a mass transit system is in place and requires mass subsidy?

There is also another danger. The governor by insisting that the city & country collect the tax is in effect creating another tax agency, which will make it easier for the city to look at further tax increases under its own authority to solve future financial problems.

I hope you can incorporate my thoughts--you can quote me if you like--into your petition again the tax increase.
NO If the increase in the excise tax is to facilitate the contruction of a mass transit system, I would like to know more about what is being proposed. The subject "Mass transit" needs to be more specific.
NO I believe sales taxes are much better. The way the GET is done in Hawaii seriously compounds the ability of small business to compete with those in other states. I suggest that for more insight into options that might be considered you look at what has been happening in Texas where there is a raging debate on raising the state sales tax. Texas has no state income tax for individuals or businesses. The State House is seeking to extend the sales tax to cover increased costs for public education this way rather than through property taxes on homeowners which has made some school districts very resource rich and other poor by comparison. The sales tax in Texas has worked well for many years. It exempts important categories like food and medicine from the tax. Note that a big part of the debate is whether it should apply to the services of partnerships (dba law firms). Here is a link to some of the most recent action and the controversy:  The current Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives is a close friend of mine. I spent a good deal of time talking with him back in April on this very topic. If you need any help on researching how this has worked in Texas, let me know.
NO 1)Why should we pay for a light rail system that affects part of Oahu only? 2)Why should we pay for a system that we don't even have a firm budget? 3)What are the alternatives? How about the ferry stystem that we were tesing just last year, I thought the stystem has recieved highly positive feedbacks from the West Oahu commuters.
YES We need the funding to fix our traffic problems. The traffic problem could have been fixed during the Fasi Administration in the '80's. Instead we voted against the tax increase, loss all Federal funding and the result is the traffic mess we have right now. Do we need to wait another 25 years before we address this problem again. I'm sure the amount of gas we will save from being stuck in traffic will help alleviate the tax increase.
NO Thanks, Johnson, for your accurate explanations of the GE Tax. I always said that any increase in Hawaii's GET would hurt our residents, immigrants, our elders with horrific increases in their medical, dental, food, education services....I vote NO to this 12% increase!!! Mahalo for your diligent efforts
NO No, I do not support GET increase. I do not support any tax increase. I do not believe mass transit is the answer to Honolulu's traffic problems.
YES If your email is regarding to the .05% which is the issue on the rail transit for counties, then YES, I am in favor of this!
NO The government is never good at spending money. So, we should keep taxes at lowest levels possible.
NO Instead of we shall consider to increase the property tax on those owners of the big property especially those fundations. Politician do not have guts to raise that issue. Big Foundations are actually the profit takers from this sociaty.
YES We need rapid transit
NO A regressive tax on the lowest income people.
NO We are overtaxed already. This tax hits the poorest among us.
NO NO, No, No - GET increase. First - many families do not have an extra $1000 a year and some will have to move to the mainland, or might become homeless. Better off citizens will have to cut back somewhere and this will hurt small businesses. Second - a rail system will not save commuters time, unless they live within a 5 minute walk of the station, nor will it cut congestion on our roads. No US city has built rail and cut traffic congeston.
NO If the GE tax increase is to pay for mass transit, I think the idea is not a good one until the State can work out how to deal with inner-city transportation to move people into and out of the dense urban areas. Will mass transit help businesses? If yes, the GE tax can be justified if no, it will hurt businesses and it will pinch the income from the already strapped poor and middle income people living in Hawaii. Unless the State can address these issues, I cannot support increase in GE Tax.
NO Thank you for writing.  I am one of the few (House of Representative) who voted against this tax increase.  Keep in touch!

 ** Independent opinion of our members which may or may not represent our current and future Chamber of Commerce policies and directions.

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