Our county council approved Bill 2670, which will impose an additional half percent tax on the people of Kauai.
In reality, that will cost you an additional 50 cents with every $100 that you spend. Giving up one beer per day or one cigarette will more than make up for that.
The bill was approved with a vote of 6 to 1 with Council Chair Mel Rapozo the only no vote. I am aware of at least one other councilmember that did not approve of the additional tax but voted yes because he felt it didn’t make any difference. Unfortunately, I think maybe that council person has lost sight of what his job as a councilman is. I was under the impression that he is supposed to represent the people of Kauai and not cave in to his own frustrations.
He may think that his yes vote “didn’t matter,” but I think it does matter, and it matters a great deal. Especially to his constituents who voted for him, particularly because he has said many times that he would not raise taxes on the people of Kauai. I hope he realizes that now.
I’m sure that both he and Mr. Rapozo feel that the amount of revenue our county will collect from that half percent could instead be made up by reducing the extravagance and waste that has hindered our county’s finances for years.
As for the tax itself, personally I wouldn’t have a problem with that additional half percent tax if I thought that 100 percent of the extra revenue would be expended on the repairs and improvements on the highways and bridges on Kauai. But somehow, I have serious doubts about that.
We have to face the reality that Kauai will never recoup the loss of the TAT funds, nor will we ever be a priority for any funding from the state Legislature. Not with the insignificant representation that Kauai County has in that Legislature.
By the way, the GET is collected by the state. So the state tax office will have to calculate Kauai’s portion of the GET that has been collected from businesses and corporations on Kauai. I wonder what percentage of that half percent the state intends to skim off the top as some sort of “administrative fee” before they send the leftover to Kauai County.
If we want our infrastructure to be properly maintained, I think the people of Kauai need to realize that we have to do it by ourselves. But we can only do it with strong leadership. The county’s priorities have to be reevaluated.
More bike lanes and more buses will not resolve any issues if our roads and highways are not adequate and not properly maintained to handle the traffic that we already have. (Have you ever hit a pothole on a bicycle?).
As I stated above, I wouldn’t have a problem with additional taxes if I was assured that 100 percent of it actually went to fixing our roads. However, I don’t think that the GET was the proper source for this increase. An increase in the fuel tax and an increase in registration fees (especially for electric and hybrids) would have been more appropriate.
The little old lady who walks over to Times market once a week shouldn’t be paying for maintaining our roads.
The 9-year-old boy who’s been saving his nickels and dimes to buy a skateboard shouldn’t have to pay for the maintenance of our roads when he buys that skateboard.
It’s simple. The users of the roads should pay for the roads. As the users of the golf course should pay for the maintenance of the golf course.
Larry Arruda is a resident of Kapaa.