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AVALON GROUP in the Media

April 27, 2005
Business groups at odds on tax

Two influential business groups are on opposite sides of a proposed excise tax increase to pay for public transportation.

The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii supports the increase while the Hawaii Association of Realtors does not.

House Bill 1309 gives counties the authority to levy a surcharge on the state general excise tax, raising it from 4 percent to 5 percent. The tax could be used on Oahu to help pay for a mass transit program like light rail.

In a letter to members, chamber president and CEO Jim Tollefson and chair Christine Camp Friedman said now is the time to start solving the problem of traffic congestion.

"Community support in the form of taxes is necessary for transportation systems, just as support is necessary for parks, harbors, airports, and other community services," Tollefson said.

But the chamber said counties should be required to follow a formal process that details the transportation project plan before its implementation and that there are assurances the tax money will be used only for transportation projects.

The Realtors' association, meanwhile, has advertisements over four weeks that use a caricature of a man dressed in nothing but a barrel and slippers, saying: "The Legislature will raise the price on everything you buy, even the clothes on your back."

The Realtors say the new law would cost every family nearly $900 in additional taxes per year, dampening the local economy.

The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii has about 1,100 members. The Hawaii Association of Realtors has about 8,000 members.

A legislative conference committee is discussing the bill today.

Pacific Business News (Honolulu) - April 27, 2005
http://pacific.bizjournals.com/pacific/stories/2005/04/25/daily40.html

 


© 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.

 

 

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