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.

The ConAm Returns

Two years ago, we as voters were inundated with impassioned arguments on both sides of a proposed constitutional amendment (“ConAm” for short). The amendment would have given the State the power to impose a surcharge on real property tax, ostensibly to fund teacher pay raises.

Don’t let them double up on us just yet

Following a major U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2018 (South Dakota v. Wayfair), many States, including ours, enacted “economic nexus” legislation, which means that we consider any business that transacts $100,000 or more in Hawaii sales or 200 or more Hawaii transactions to be subject to Hawaii tax laws, and we require such a business to comply with the law by registering and paying tax.

What really is a minimum wage?

Happy New Year! It’s now 2020 and talk already has begun about raising our minimum wage. $10.10 an hour is not a living wage, some say, so we should be hoisting our minimum wage to say $15 or $17, which some say is the minimum required to make ends meet here in Hawaii assuming you are working 40 hours a week.

Cooling the Schools: The Reality

It wasn’t long ago that, in response to numerous complaints of students sweltering in their classrooms, Gov. Ige proclaimed that he would commit $100 million to cool 1,000 classrooms.

Red Flags at Office of Hawaiian Affairs

A recent, eagerly awaited independent financial review of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) has been in the news lately. The review, conducted by the California-based accounting firm CliftonLarsenAllen (“CLA”), made several observations and recommendations, including the flagging of 32 transactions, representing $7.8 million, as potentially fraudulent, wasteful, or abusive.

Ninety-One Hours in a Work Week?!

Recently, the website howmuch.net, a financial literacy website with interesting visualizations about various financial topics, came out with a comparison called, “This is How Long You Need to Work to Live Comfortably in Every State.”

“Piling On” to Transient Vacation Rentals

Piling on, for those of you who aren’t football fans, happens when a player or group of players jump on top of a runner who already has been tackled, just to make sure the runner is not going anywhere.

Let’s not tax transportation

Some folks ask me if I have any radical ideas to change the tax system in Hawaii. Here’s one: Stop taxing transportation of goods and people.

Wealth is a sin?

A recent op-ed column in Real Clear Politics by Scott Hodge, president of the national Tax Foundation (not related to the Tax Foundation of Hawaii although the names are similar) brought up some interesting ideas, spurred by the announced plans of Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to enact a tax on wealth.

Saving the Legislature from itself

This week we look at the State Auditor’s recent follow-up report, Report No. 19-14, on the Motion Picture, Digital Media, and Film Production income tax credit.

The Strange Case of Bank of America

Once upon a time, there was a big bank called Bank of America. It wanted to try doing business in Hawaii, since it was already in many of the other western states, so it reached a deal to buy Honolulu Federal (do you remember HonFed?) and took over all of their branches in Hawaii. This was in 1992.

If housing costs in honolulu are bad now …

The cost of having four walls and a roof over your head in Honolulu has been staggeringly expensive relative to the rest of the nation for a while now. The median price of a single-family home on Oahu in July reached $835,000, while the median price of a condominium rose to $460,000, according to a report from Honolulu real estate firm Locations Hawaii.