Back again: GET to be heard June 29

HILO — It ain’t over till it’s over.

Baseball great Yogi Berra’s famous quote could well apply to the general excise tax hike in Hawaii County, which is coming back in a special June 29 County Council meeting, just one day shy of the state-imposed deadline to pass it.

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Puna Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara, part of a 5-4 majority that killed the increase Tuesday, on Thursday asked for a reconsideration of the issue. The one-quarter percent county surcharge, raising an estimated $20 million a year, would start Jan. 1, 2019, and end Dec. 31, 2020, under Bill 159.

It was a compromise measure after the council earlier postponed a full half-percent tax surcharge allowed by the state Legislature, with a 2030 expiration date.

Because the tax is itself taxed, the .25 percent tax on a $100 purchase would increase by 26 cents, raising the purchase from $104.17 to $104.43, once the 4 percent state GET is also taken into account.

O’Hara couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Her written request for reconsideration sent to Council Chairwoman Valerie Poindexter date-stamped at 2:10 p.m. Thursday was succinct, merely asking for reconsideration and requesting a meeting before June 30.

Poindexter said she’s relieved to see the request. She said she had already planned to hold a special council meeting on June 29, because Mayor Harry Kim is running into a deadline to appoint members and have them confirmed to the Charter Commission.

“Community members I met with did not want us cutting services for use of our facilities,” Poindexter said. “Especially when we already raised the fuel tax and property tax on them — to compound it with the reduction of services isn’t the right thing to do.”

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Bill 159 faces a two-step process. First, at least five council members must agree to rehear the bill, then at least five council members must vote yes.

If the GET doesn’t pass, the county will have to find $5 million in cuts to its budget, because of the loss of property tax revenues from lava-ravaged Puna.

  1. Big ideas June 22, 2018 5:42 am

    The one-quarter percent county surcharge, raising an estimated $20 million a year, would start Jan. 1, 2019, and end Dec. 31, 2020, under Bill 159.

    THEY ALL LIE – THEY WILL NEVER LET IT EXPIRE. THEY WILL FIND OTHER “EMERGENCIES” TO KEEP IT ALIVE. WE NEED TO STARVE THE GOVERNMENT INTO BUDGET CUTS!


  2. Scooby June 22, 2018 5:57 am

    This article is to raise the GET tax while another article is for pay raises…what is this administration doing? We’ve been lied to consistently by the very people benefiting from these large raises! You have Brilhante telling the salary commission not to rescind the over 1.6 million in undeserved raises because he himself received a big chunk! What is not being reported is not only did the department heads get raises but it was a trickle down effect that allowed the department head to give raises to those under them. The total amount of raises is closer to 2 million.


    1. Sonny Poindexter June 22, 2018 10:45 am

      The news paper doesn’t tell the truth .They twist the facts to sell papers, then other people tell a different story from the reality they have just created in their own mind.Just the other day the paper said “The council failed to pass the GET increase.When it really should have said ,Thank God the GET increase did not pass.


  3. konablue June 22, 2018 9:35 am

    vote this down once and for all. I cannot believe these people, they refuse to let it go, I think they want it but also want to say that they passed it reluctantly.


  4. KonaLife June 22, 2018 11:18 am

    Ok. There is an alleged $5 million shortfall, so we need to raise $10 next year and $20 million the year after that? This shows true intent: raise taxes so that they have more to spend! I hope that any Councilperson who votes in favor of this gets removed from office at the next opportunity. Taxpayers should not forget this money-grab.


  5. 4whatitsworth June 22, 2018 6:16 pm

    “Community members I met with did not want us cutting services for use of our facilities,” Poindexter said. Ok now I wonder if she also heard that we don’t get much for what we already pay for and will not tolerate a % increase until we see the government start working.

    Council members want to do the right thing? Roll back the gas tax, make tax on food 0, cut the government a little or more, and then institute a little higher GET tax.


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