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Letter to the Editor: Tax Hikes Are Poor Solution To Hawaii Budget Crisis

March 12, 2021, 1:44 PM HST
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The following is a letter to the editor. The opinions expressed within do not necessarily reflect those of Big Island Now or Pacific Media Group. The following has not been edited for content.

“The Hawai´i Senate recently passed Senate Bill 56 that proposes to raise the income tax on people earning over $200,000 per year from 11% to 16%. 

The rationale for this big tax increase is to cover the State of Hawai´i’s fiscal budget gap. The politicians chose to use this strategy of increasing taxes on high income people as the path of least resistance. For politicians, a tax increase on a few is much easier than having to defend budget cuts. 

However, the rationale for this tax increase is weakened by the passage of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus by the US Congress to provide state and local governments with monetary assistance.

Another reason that this tax increase is a bad idea is that it will be a significant disincentive in recruiting physicians and other professionals.  For several years, there has been a shortage of doctors in Hawai´i, especially on the neighboring islands. Doctors are typically highly paid because of the years of education and training needed. Most have taken on significant student debt that must be repaid. We have a doctor shortage in Hawai´i and this tax increase is going to negatively impact the effort fixing that.

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Senate Bill 56 is a bad solution. The House of Representatives should kill it.  If it does reach Governor Ige’s desk, he should veto it.”

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-Jack Gaw, Hilo

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