Breaking News

Community Viewpoint

TAXWatch: HB2748

House Bill 2748, which will become law soon, is sometimes referred to as the “Bob Nakata bill” after the former legislator, now reverend, who was one of the bill’s champions.  It aims to advance the goal of providing “affordable housing” in our island state. One part of the bill appropriates $200 million to the Rental Housing Revolving Fund, which, according …

Read More »

TAXWatch: It’s Not Easy Bein’ an Employer

It’s tough being an employer, especially here in Hawai`i. If I am a business, or even a nonprofit, in Hawai`i and I want to hire paid staff, there are all kinds of things to consider. Before I hire the worker, I need to comply with laws saying what I can and can’t ask the prospective employee.  I might get in …

Read More »

TAXWatch: Can’t You Just Change the Agenda?

Recently, State Auditor Les Kondo shocked the public and some Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) Board members when he charged, at a HART board meeting, that HART employees had been required to record all interviews with State Auditor personnel and then submit the recordings to management to be transcribed.  That’s “interference with the audit process,” he said. What happened …

Read More »

TAXWatch: Balanced Budget

If you are a serious student of Hawaii constitutional law, here is a question for you.  Where in our state constitution does it say we have to have a balanced budget?  The answer appears later in this article. The part of our constitution directly governing our state’s budget is Article VII, section 8.  It says that “the governor shall submit …

Read More »

TAXWatch: We Can’t See It or Touch It, But We Can Tax It!

This week we look at HB 2416, a bill that applies Hawaii Use Tax to intangible property. The Use Tax is a tax designed to protect our local businesses.  As a consumer, you often have a choice between buying a product from a local seller and one from somewhere out of state.  Our general excise tax applies to the local …

Read More »

Maui Housing Woes Traceable to Red Tape

Hawaii is the most regulated and arguably overplanned state in the union, according to University of Hawaii law professor David Callies, who spoke about Hawaii’s extensive land use controls, at an event last week in Paia sponsored by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. (See full presentation here) Also the author of “Regulating Paradise: Land Use Controls in Hawaii,” Callies said …

Read More »

TAXWatch: Finding the Magic Bullet, City’s Share of Rail Administrative Costs

In a recent hearing in the Honolulu City Council’s Budget Committee, council leaders say that they might have found a “magic bullet” – one that they say will get the City’s share of rail funding done painlessly. Here’s the issue.  The City needs to cover $44 million in administrative costs for rail for 2018 and 2019.  The City previously didn’t …

Read More »

TAXWatch: Reactionary Reaction to Resort Fees

One of the bills that has come out of the recently concluded legislative session is SB 2699, which proposes to make “resort fees” subject to our Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT). A “resort fee,” which also goes on your bill if you stay at a hotel, and not only in Hawaii but around the world, is to pay for other amenities …

Read More »

TAXWatch: Letting the Genie Out of the Bottle…for Our Keiki?

This November, voters throughout the State will be given the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment, brought forward by Senate Bill 2922, supposedly to fund primary school education.  The amendment would give the State Legislature the power to impose a real property tax surcharge on “investment real property.” The amendment, if approved by the voters, does not define what …

Read More »

TAXWatch: The Tax Office Said So, So It Must Be True

HB 2432, one of the bills actively being considered this session, proposes to hike the “transient occupancy tax,” or TOT, by an as-yet-unspecified amount.  This part of the bill is noteworthy for the factual support behind it.  Or, more particularly, the lack thereof.  It’s based on “the tax office said so, so it must be true.” The TOT is like …

Read More »