Sunday, January 25, 2009

Editorial: State Attempt To ‘Short-Circuit Rail’ In Transit Tax Grab ‘Puts Jobs, Funds at Risk’

It took a few days, but Hawaii’s largest newspaper finally has weighed in with a blistering editorial that tells the Lingle Administration and state legislators to leave the transit tax alone.

Administration officials and State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa floated the idea of using the ½-percent general excise tax surcharge that’s been in effect for two years to offset the State’s budget deficit.

Here are quotes from the Advertiser’s editorial:

“Public interests must trump politics in decisions affecting one of the most important public works projects in Hawaii’s history.”

“Disrupting local transit financing risks a delay in federal approval for the project and holds up the federal share of the money – hundreds of millions of dollars desperately needed in Hawaii. The construction salaries the project generates will trickle down to benefit the rest of the economy.”

“This is the time for the Congressional delegation to speak up – loudly – against this tax diversion. The folly of the state’s proposed money grab should be apparent to everyone, but it’s plain that taxpayers need advocates from D.C. to defend their interests.”

Senator Daniel Inouye and Rep. Neal Abercrombie have been such stalwarts in their support of Honolulu rail that they surely will be chiming in any moment now.

Last week’s Hot Seat session with Hanabusa is reprinted in today’s Advertiser and is worth another look.

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