Tom Yamachika: Can we sack the GET?

Every so often a question comes up from some alert readers. “The Hawaii General Excise Tax (GET) is regressive, meaning it falls hardest on the poor. Hardly anyone understands it, because it is so unlike the sales taxes, and even the gross receipts taxes, in any of the other States. It taxes basic necessities, like food, medical care, and electricity. So why don’t we just get rid of it?”

A GET exemption for food

There has been a lot of talk these days about possibly adding a General excise tax (GET) exemption for food and medicine. The three Democratic candidates for governor all support it, as Hawaii News Now reported. The argument that most people make is that the GET, which applies to most purchases of things including food, is regressive. Thus, it falls more heavily on those less able to make ends meet.

Billions pour into bioplastics as markets begin ramping up

CLEVELAND — In a world increasingly troubled by the persistent harm that plastic — manufactured in petrochemical plants — has had on the environment, companies are investing billions of dollars to ramp up production of plastics made from natural, renewable materials that can be safely composted or can biodegrade under the right conditions.

Addressing the tax crisis in health care

It’s been obvious for some time that there is a physician crisis here in Hawaii. Simply put, we don’t have enough doctors here. The ones we do have are moving away, and most of the medical school graduates are opting to stay away from here.

We need an emergency declaration for health care

Last week, I ranted and raved about our COVID-19 emergency proclamations, more than 20 of them, that finally ended on March 25, 2022. Now we see in the news that the Healthcare Association of Hawaii wants the Governor to declare a state of emergency once again.

Inflation and wage data suggest US prices will keep climbing

WASHINGTON — Inflation surged in June and workers’ average wages accelerated in the spring — signs that Americans won’t likely feel any relief from rising prices anytime soon and that the Federal Reserve will feel compelled to further raise borrowing costs.