What the future holds for Aloha Stadium

While everyone’s attention is focused on COVID-19 and racially charged police brutality, we should also pay some attention to major happenings here at home.

Pitfalls of the subcontractor deduction

This week we’ll look at another general-excise-tax exemption that the State Auditor has put under the microscope in Report No. 20-05. It affects the construction industry, and the price tag the auditor put on it, based on 2018 numbers, was $19 million.

Our GET may be too soft on sales to federal government

Our Legislature will be reopening soon, and some lawmakers are undoubtedly thinking of ways to make our budget balance, because the grim reality is that much of our economic engine has ground to a halt and is no longer spinning out tax revenues.

What to do with federal COVID money

This week our Legislature will be recessing after working on one of its important tasks: figuring out how to spend $1 billion of federal money that is being made available to Hawaii under the CARES Act.

If you happen to have money laying around

During this period of emergency and with our state facing revenue shortfalls of Brobdingnagian proportions, the state auditor has been busy at work trying to find options for legislators to consider for getting the state budget back on track.

Crossing the Rubicon into tax suspension

In an article in this space just a couple of weeks ago, we growled and grumbled about the possibility that our governor, having already suspended laws and chapters in the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes in a listing 17 pages long, would start monkeying with the tax code.

State taxing the medical practice to death

By now everyone knows that we’re in a state of emergency. There’s a virus spreading through the population and killing people. There’s no vaccine, and no confirmed effective therapy such as drugs, so if you get sick from it there’s a chance that it will be game over for you.

Put idle state workers to work in other positions

On March 5, our governor issued a proclamation declaring our current state of emergency. The proclamation suspends several laws, including chapters 89 and 89C, HRS (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes), relating to collective bargaining and public officers and employees excluded from collective bargaining, to the extent necessary to, among other things, “provide for the interchange of personnel, by detail, transfer, or otherwise, between agencies or departments of the state.”

Lead, grant relief, and don’t take more, please

We are in trying times now, folks. Much of the state is closed. The Capitol and many government offices, including the state Department of Taxation, are locked down. People are working remotely when they can, and we are, too.

Lawmakers might simply follow the herd

It seems like every year we have a legislature, we have dozens of legislative tax proposals to wade through. Some would lessen the burden on the beleaguered consumer, but most would do the reverse.

Green fees – but not the golfing kind

Senate Bill 2696, which the Senate has just given to the House for consideration, is a bill “Relating to Green Fees.” These green fees have nothing to do with playing golf, however; they are per visitor, per stay charges the money from which goes to protect and preserve the environment. Some national governments already charge them, including the Republic of Palau, New Zealand, and the Maldives. So, SB 2696 is calling for a feasibility study and implementation plan, assuming that the fee will be charged beginning in 2022.

Just a few ‘technical amendments’ in Legislature

Some of the bills making their way through our Legislature are sponsored by executive departments. One such department, the Department of Taxation, is behind a few of them. One of them worth mentioning, introduced as SB2922 and HB2366, proposes to change some criminal penalties in our transient accommodations tax (TAT) law to civil fines … and “to make various technical amendments,” as the bill summary states.

Proposed state improvement surcharge

In the past few legislative sessions, there always had been one or two proposals to raise taxes in a big way. Some of them got pretty far along the road to becoming law, and some of them actually became law.

Do you buy fuel? Then be very afraid!

We have occasionally written about a “carbon tax,” something environmentalists appear to be supporting enthusiastically. The basic idea behind one is that a tax is placed upon the purchase of all fuels that result in carbon emissions when the fuel is burned to release energy. The amount of the tax is based on the type of fuel and is priced to be a certain dollar amount per metric ton of carbon emitted into our atmosphere.