Category Archives: Taxes

A Better Day with Senator Slom & Lowell Kalapa

Senator Slom talks to Lowell Kalapa of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii.

Senator Sam Slom: Hawaii Legislature Aiming to Raise Taxes

State Senator Sam Slom talks about taxes, the economy, government, the legislature and more in this latest edition of HawaiiReporter.com‘s News Behind the News.

Floor Actions: Session Days 15, 16 & 17

State Senator Sam Slom

February 12: Senate Floor Session, Day 17: No floor votes. Several bills passed 2nd reading and moved on to the next committee.

February 11: Senate Floor Session, Day 16: The State Senate passed 4 bills on Third Reading to the House of Representatives. They are SB 328 “Relating to Animals” (landlord-tenant code, security deposit); SB 1116 “Relating to Definition of Public Housing Project”; SB 319 “Relating to thrill-craft” (use of thrill-craft in ocean clean-up); and SB 454 “Relating to Water Conservation” (gray water irrigation).

February 8: Senate Floor Session, Day 15: The State Senate passed 3 bills on Third Reading. This included HB 26 HD1 “Making appropriations to provide for the expenses of the Legislature, Auditor, the Legislative Reference Bureau, the Ombudsman and the Ethics Commission.” This is the first bill that crossed over from the house to be approved by the senate this year. The bill now awaits the approval of the Governor.

Reports from the Field

The House of Representatives committees on Water and Land (WAL) and Finance (FIN) committees passed HB 1133 to repeal the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) on February 11. In the Senate, the Economic Development, Government Operations & Housing committee (EGH) as well as the Water & Land (WTL) committee voted to pass an amended version of SB 707 out as an SD1 in which the PLDC is also repealed. Senator Slom supports legislation to repeal the PLDC.

New Tax on Sugary Beverages Pass: The Senate Health (HTH) committee passed SB 1085  which “imposes a fee on sugar-sweetened beverages. Establishes the Obesity Prevention Special Fund to support obesity prevention programs.” In a nutshell this is a new tax on every ounce of any sugary drink purchased by consumers. Senator Slom who opposes all new taxes and the creation of new special funds was the only Senator in the committee to vote against this new tax. The Senator will continue to oppose this bill and the tax as it moves to WAM and third reading votes.

In the Transportation Committee hearing yesterday (Feb. 11) Senator Slom also voted against the red light camera proposal (SB 693) that would allow a camera to take a picture of drivers and car license plates as they cross intersections against red lights. Senator Slom also voted against this bill 2 more times in the Public Safety (PSM) and Technology & Arts (TEC) committee since all 3 committees were at a combined hearing.

Top Photo: Senator Sam Slom commenting at the Senate TIA Hearing.

Bills Loom Large as Major Deadlines Approach

By State Senator Sam Slom from the Kuliouou NHB #2 Report

The $11.7 billion State Budget (HB 200) looms large on the horizon this year as the 2013 Legislature heads closer to the first major deadlines — first lateral on February 15 and First Crossover on March 7. Several bills have already passed out of their initial committees and now await approval from the “A bracket” committees (Ways & Means, Juidicary & Labor, Commerce & Consumer Protection) by the first crossover date.

The Senate passed its first bill to the House, SB 94 which adds an executive director to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority on February 1. Subsequently, 3 more bills passed third reading (SB 54 on aging; SB 44 on mental health; and SB 995 on irrigation water development) votes this week and are now in the House.

HB 26which crossed over from the House was voted in the Senate Ways & Means committee yesterday. This is the $28.5 million in general funds bill that pays for the operations of the State Legislature that includes the House, Senate and related agencies. The bill is slated for a Senate floor vote on Feb. 8.

On other issues.

University of Hawaii: Problems continue to dog the University of Hawaii system which were addressed through a series of informational briefings focused on salaries and tuition increases. I stated at the tuition briefing that the state’s only public institution of higher learning is pricing students out of school. My office has received several emails and phone calls from U.H. students confirming this fact. Bills addressing issues surrounding the university are being heard in the Senate Higher Education and Ways & Means Committees.

PLDC: The Senate Chair of the Water & Land Committee pulled SB1, a bill that would repeal chapter 171c in the HRS relating to the Public Land Development Corporation. The action has angered the public and several senators. I support the repeal of the PLDC and have introduced two bills this session to deal with that: SB 780 and SB 781.

Taxes: A number of tax bills will be decided in the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Feb. 12. They include SB 350 which amends the filing of GE Tax Returns; SB 653 tax rates on tobacco products including “premium cigars”; SB 948 “streamlined” taxation on internet purchases; SB 1187 - delinquent taxes; and SB 1190 imposition of “use tax” on imported contracting. Several other tax bills are advancing through other committees and in the House including those that will add new taxes to sugary beverages (SB 1085), a 10¢ per plastic bag fee (tax), increases to the conveyance, general excise, tobacco and transient accommodations tax. I oppose all new taxes and increases.

* – HB26 passed third reading in the Senate on 2-8-2013 and now goes to the Governor for his approval.


QUICK TAKES

Capitol TV with Noelani

Legislative aide Noelani Bonafacio comments on the soda tax bill during a taping of Capitol Commentary at Senator Slom’s office.

Energy & Judiciary Committee

Senator Slom heard testimony on SB 1135 which the State Board of Health wants to pass that expands the Electronic Device and Television Recycling program. If passed into law, the new regulations will impact the sales of not only consumer electronics but also to household appliances. There is a high fee (tax) structure connected to this that Senator Slom will oppose.


Lonely And Frustrated: The Worst Jobs In Politics

Hawaii State Senate Opening Day

Senator Sam Slom was featured on National Public Radio (npr.org), February 5 in an article written by commentator Alan Greenblat. The article titled “Lonely And Frustrated: These May Be The Worst Jobs In Politics” focused on those legislators and politicians across the country whose jobs “appear from the outside to be so hopeless that you wonder why anyone agreed to take them on.” Senator Slom being the lone Republican in the 25-member Hawaii State Senate was one of the subjects of the article which covered minority representation in the states of Wyoming, Rhode Island, Oklahoma and Hawaii.

Firearms, Sugary Drinks Tax, Property Acquisition, Floor Actions and More.

Discussion on Second Amendment Rights

Senator Slom met with Max Cooper and Dan Reid to discuss Second Amendment issues and legislation that may impact firearm owners this session. This year several bills are on the docket that will limit second amendment rights if they should become law. Among them are SB 69, SB 219, SB 932, SB 628, SB 2and SB 36. There are dozens more. Senator Slom is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and is a trustee of the Second Amendment Foundation.


Floor Actions

Floor Session, Day 12: More bills passed 2nd reading.

Floor Session, Day 13: SB 995 passed third reading; 25-0

Floor Session, Day 14: The Senate passed SB 54 on third reading, which “allows the policy advisory board for elder affairs to recommend to the governor to honor non ex officio members by lifetime membership, which includes all the rights and privileges of a non ex officio member, upon approval by all regular members of the board. ” While the bill passed with a vote of 23 – 0, Senators Slom and Solomon both voted WR or “with reservations”. The Senate also passed SB 44 on third reading with a 23 – 0 vote.


FROM THE FIELD: Hearing Summaries

At the Health Committee Hearing

Senate Health Committee (HTH): SB 1085: Imposes a fee on sugar-sweetened beverages. Establishes the Obesity Prevention Special Fund to support obesity prevention programs.

Testimony from members of the Obseity Task Force and the medical community were largely in favor of the bill. Retailers, restauranteurs and beverage firms are against the bill and see it as a new tax.

Victor Lim of McDonalds’ Hawaii testified that it would be difficult to figure out what is included in “sugary beverage”. He also expressed concerns about new business owners having trouble with the paperwork associated with the tax. Representatives from a Hawaii company who makes cans also expressed concerns about the impact the tax would have on more than 1300 jobs. The Governor was not present at the hearing. - Noelani Bonafacio

Photo above: Senator Slom had some questions for Loretta Fuddy concerning the tax on sugary drinks and the findings linking obesity to them. Like all other new tax bills that have come before, Senator Slom will be voting “no” on this bill.

Photo below: The Heatlh committee hearing was packed on the sugary drinks tax bill.

Health Committee Hearing


Senate Water & Land Committee (WLT): SB 894 – Land Acquisition – Turtle Bay Hilton Hotel properties: Of the testimony submitted, 243 were in Support and 23 were in Opposition. However many of those who attended the hearing were in opposition. Although I did notice that many were employees. They expressed that Turtle Bay has given North Shore residents jobs and recreational opportunities. The opponents of the bill stated that they’ve been deceived before and that the development plan was misleading, in terms of traffic and the size of their development. Senator Solomon was concerned that the disagreement between Turtle Bay and Defend O’ahu Coalition was not the State Senate’s issue to resolve, but the City and County’s. However, the chair of the WTL committee allowed the bill to move forward to allow continued discussion. (Passed with amendments 4 – 0; 3 excused; Senator Slom voted in the affirmative). – NB

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