Honolulu City Council Chair questions how State spends taxpayers money - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Honolulu City Council Chair questions how State spends taxpayers money

By Leland Kim - bio | email

IWILEI (KHNL) - Is the State getting millions of dollars more than it needs from Oahu taxpayers?

That's a question posed by Honolulu City Council Chair Barbara Marshall.

The current law gives the state ten percent to help pay for the cost of collecting the general excise tax or GET surcharge.

Simply put, the GET surcharge collection for the current fiscal year is almost $188 million.

And according to Marshall, the cost to actually administer the surcharge is only a fraction of what the state is collecting.

It's a fact of life.

Whenever you buy something, chances are you're gonna get taxed.

Last year, the City and County of Honolulu collected almost $188 million in general excise tax.

Of that, the state keeps 10 percent, or just under $19 million to administer the GET surcharge for mass transit.

But the State's cost is roughly $750 thousand.

"The taxpayers now wind up paying this $18 million a year? For apparently no reason. I'm sure the State is spending the money," said Marshall.  "The question is what they're spending it on and why the taxpayers aren't being told what they're spending it on."

Honolulu City Council Chair Barbara Marshall says it's unfair to Oahu taxpayers.

"It's a double burden on taxpayers. They're paying this inordinate amount of money before the get excise tax anyway," said Marshall.

As taxpayers continue to pay taxes, Marshall hopes the legislature moves to make things more equitable.

"In fact at this point in time, I would think the really fair thing to do would be to abandon the fee for the collection completely," said Marshall.

A question of tax money and how it's spent.

The director of the State Department of Taxation chose not to comment.

Marshall says the City Council has no power in the matter, but hopes to convince the legislature to change the rule in the new session.

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