By B.J. Reyes
While state lawmakers keep alive a proposal to scoop some of the City & County of Honolulu’s money from the general excise tax surcharge for rail, City Council members are declaring their wishes for the Legislature to not only leave the money where it is, but to give back whatever the state doesn’t need for administration of the tax.
The City Council’s Safety, Economic Development & Government Affairs Committee today adopted Resolution 11-91, urging the state to amend the law to reduce the amount collected by the state for administration.
By law, the state diverts 10 percent of the funds collected by the half-percent surcharge for the costs of assessment, collection and disposition of the surcharge.
Resolution 11-91 was introduced by Councilman Tom Berg, who estimates the loss to the city at about $18 million a year. Said Berg:
“The skimming off the top is unjust and unwarranted. … [W]e owe it to taxpayers to be pennywise with this multi-billion dollar project, rather than allowing it to be continually exploited for extra monies by a cash-hungry state government. By profiteering off the rail project, the State has been acting in bad faith.”
The committee adopted the non-binding resolution 5-0. Full text of the resolution below: