Hawaii Economists Issue Letter Opposing Proposed 25 Percent General Excise Tax Hike

Seven local economists released a letter today saying they oppose a proposal by lawmakers to increase the state’s General Excise Tax by as much as 25 percent.

They are sending the letter to all lawmakers today, including House Finance Chair Marcus Oshiro and Senate Ways and Means Chair Donna Mercado Kim.

The letter says: “We, the undersigned Hawaii economists, oppose the 25% neighbor island, 22% Oahu, increase of the general excise tax as proposed in this session of the state legislature. An increase in this tax is counterproductive to meaningful economic growth, job creation, and maintenance of a positive standard of living for individuals and businesses in the islands.”

The economists include: Ken Schoolland, Associate Professor of Economics at the Hawaii Pacific University; Leroy O. Laney, Ph.D., Professor of Economics and Finance at Hawaii Pacific University; James Barney Marsh, Professor of International Business Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa; Min Min Thaw, Assistant Professor of Economics at the Hawaii Pacific University; Dr. Howard He, Assistant Professor of Economics at Hawaii Pacific University; Dr. Ernesto Lucas, Associate Professor of Economics at Hawaii Pacific University; and Sam Slom, Consulting economist, SMS Consultants, and Former professor of business and economics at the Hawaii Pacific University and JAIMS.

The economists came forward to oppose the tax after two other local economists – Paul Brewbaker and William Boyd of the University of Hawaii’s CLEAR division – said the GE tax hike “should be on the table.”

Public union and social services agency leaders are pushing their members to lobby lawmakers for the GE tax hike. Several other tax hikes also are pending as Hawaii lawmakers look for ways to close a $1.2 billion budget shortfall this legislative session.

The economists were quick to point out that these are their personal views and not to be attributed to the economists’ respective universities.


Report from Hawaii Reporter




Please call your lawmakers today and ask them to balance the budget by cutting government rather than implementing tax hikes – tell them you oppose the General Excise Tax.

Find your lawmakers at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

Write to all lawmakers through these two email addresses:



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