Array of bad bills at Legislature keeping Grassroot Institute busy

There’s never a time when you can let your guard down when our esteemed legislators get together to pass laws

It’s too bad so much time and effort has to be devoted each year to trying to defeat bad legislative measures, rather than promoting bills that would help Hawaii.

Truly disappointing this year is that, even though the state has a $3 billion budget surplus, there still are many bills seeking to increase our taxes. Proposed under the guise of financial need, “tax fairness” or whatever, the sponsors of these bills seem oblivious to Hawaii’s true economic condition, which is shaky after almost two years of varying degrees of coronavirus lockdowns that continue to this day.

Thus, the Grassroot Institute has been busy offering testimony regarding some of the worst bills proposed — though, we are happy to say, there have been a few good bills introduced as well.

Half a month into the 2022 legislative session, the Grassroot Institute has testified on measures that would increase the state minimum-wage (thumbs down), reform the state’s emergency powers law (thumbs up, with suggested amendments) and initiate a massive “ALOHA homes” government housing project (thumbs down).

Other bills we have given “thumbs down” are:

>> SB2242, which seeks to raise the state’s top income tax rate from 11% to 13%, increase the capital gains tax from 7.25% to 11% and hike the corporate income tax rate and income tax rates on investment companies and real estate investment trusts from the graduated rates of 4.4%, 5.4% and 6.4% to a flat 9.6%.

>> SB2485, which would alter — and generally increase — the Hawaii state capitalgains tax rate so that capital gains shall be taxed “at the highest marginal rate applicable to the taxpayer’s filing status and tax bracket.”

>> SB3182, which would establish a wealth asset tax of 1% on all taxpayer assets, except for real property, with a value in excess of $20,000,000 for taxpayers filing jointly or $10,000,000 for all other taxpayers.

>> SB2441, which would add a 10 cents-per-drink surcharge on the state’s existing liquor tax.

>> SB3250 which would establish a 5% income tax surcharge on individuals making more than $5 million a year or estates and trusts with more than $200,000 in annual income and give Hawaii the highest income-tax rate in the country.

Bills we have given “thumbs up” include:

>> SB3100, which would create a one-time tax refund for resident taxpayers in keeping with Article VII, Section 6 of the Hawaii Constitution. Gov. David Ige has proposed issuing $100 to each Hawaii taxpayer and dependents; the institute is urging at least $1,000 per Hawaii taxpayer.

>> HB1919, which would provide a general excise tax exemption for food, medical services and feminine hygiene products.

>> SB3176, which would allow Hawaii’s counties to adopt rules for the construction of fourplex dwellings on any land zoned for residential use where single-family dwelling units are permitted.

>> HB1965, which would reform the practice of asset forfeiture in the state.

To read our testimonies on each of the above bills, click on the bill numbers.

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