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Community Viewpoint

Community Viewpoint: Carving Up the Price of Car Rentals

One of the legislative bills that is now being considered by Gov. David Ige is a curious bill, HB 735, involving the car rental industry.  The bill doesn’t seek to impose new taxes or fees upon rental cars.  Instead, it affects how car rental businesses can show these fees on rental car invoices as separate line items. Hawaii Revised Statutes …

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Community Viewpoint: Closing an Estate Tax Loophole?

One of the bills our legislature sent up to Gov. Ige to be signed, which is almost certain to become law because the Department of Taxation sponsored it, is one to close an estate tax “loophole.”  The issue isn’t as simple as it might seem, however. First, some background.  An estate tax is imposed when a person dies.  The Federal …

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Community Viewpoint: Human Casualties at the Legislature, Part 2

I have written previously about some of the human casualties that took place in this past legislative session.  I would be remiss if I failed to mention Tom Gorak, who had been chief counsel of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) before Governor Ige appointed him to be one of the three PUC commissioners. The circumstances of Gorak’s appointment were …

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Community Viewpoint: Human Casualties at the Legislature

Our legislature this year has had several casualties. We expect quite a few bills to be tossed aside during the legislative process. However, in recent years we have had more than the average number of human casualties, the most recent being Speaker of the House Joe Souki and Senate Ways and Means Chair Jill Tokuda. The casualties in this legislature …

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Community Viewpoint: A Raid by Any Other Name…

We have written before about GEMS (Green Energy Market Securitization), a program adopted by our state government in 2013.  The state wanted to facilitate the buildout of “clean energy infrastructure,” a necessary step to reaching its clean energy goals.  GEMS was supposed to be a financing program that provides low-cost capital to finance solar photovoltaic systems and other clean energy …

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TrumpTax: Losing the State Tax Deduction

On April 26, the Trump Administration released a document that contained a roadmap of sorts for an overhaul of the federal tax code.  His proposals included a consolidation of the current individual income tax brackets going up to 39.6% to three brackets, namely 10%, 25%, and 35%.  The standard deduction would be doubled, to $12,700 for single filers and $25,400 …

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Community Viewpoint: The Rail Bill and Other Curiosities

Between the beginning of this legislative session and April 28, the Rail Bill (SB 1183) was heard and debated numerous times.  It seemed as if there were two main variables under discussion:  how many years the county surcharge on our general excise tax was to be extended, and the extent that the State would “skim,” namely, take a cut off …

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Community Viewpoint: Making Money at the County Level

When we speak of and follow government in this space, we usually concentrate on state government and the state legislature.  But we mustn’t forget that there are county governments as well.  They supply important services such as police, fire, park and road maintenance, trash and sewer disposal, and water supply. How does a county raise money to pay for these …

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Tax Casualty? Maui Memorial Hospital

This week our series of tax news returns to Maui, where we have an update on the efforts to help with Maui Memorial Hospital workers and other employees of our state health system. As we have written before, our state-run hospitals in Maui County, including Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital & Clinic, and Lanai Community Hospital, have been losing …

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Tax Casualty? Maui County Carnival

The 2nd Annual Maui County Carnival, scheduled for April 6-9, 2017, has been canceled.  Skyrocketing state government fees have been blamed as one reason for the cancellation. In April 2016, E.K. Fernandez Shows brought the carnival to Maui for four days at the War Memorial Complex in Wailuku.  The inaugural event featured rides, games, food, entertainment, and special attractions.  The …

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