East Hawaii News

Bill Exempts Disabled Vets From Some Vehicle Fees

February 4, 2014, 4:18 PM HST
* Updated February 4, 6:44 PM
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A bill moving through the state House of Representatives would exempt permanently disabled veterans in Hawaii from paying the state motor vehicle registration fee.

According to a report from the House Committee on Transportation, the purpose of House Bill 1667 is to “recognize the dedication and service of veterans of the armed services ….”

The bill would exempt only noncommercial vehicles, and only one vehicle per person.

If enacted, disabled veterans would not be required to pay the $45 state registration fee.

However, because the bill is silent on such matters, they would apparently still have to pay county fees as well as weight taxes assessed by both the state and counties.

In Hawaii County, the county fee and weight taxes make up approximately two-thirds of the total registration cost for a small car, and could represent a substantially higher percentage for heavy vehicles such as SUVs or trucks.

When it was unanimously approved on Wednesday, committee members amended the bill to remove a qualifying cap on income.

Testimony against the measure was submitted by the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, which said that it represented “poor tax policy.”

“It should be remembered that all motorists use the state highways and should, therefore, lend a hand in paying for good and safe roads,” said Tom Yamachika, the foundation’s interim president.

The state Department of Transportation also submitted testimony in opposition to the bill, saying it would have a negative impact on the State Highway Fund which pays for maintenance and construction of state roadways.

According to other testimony, as of November there were 2,203 veterans in Hawaii with a 100% disability rating.

The bill moves next to the House Committee on Veterans, Military & International Affairs, & Culture and the Arts.

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