In Opposition to Rail Tax SB4 – Senate Advances Rail Bill, Senator Ruderman Votes No

The bill was described by the senate in a news release and posted along with the video on Big Island Video News:

SB4 addresses the City and County of Honolulu’s rail construction shortfall of $2.378 billion by extending the General Excise Tax on Oahu for three additional years through December 31, 2030 which will provide $1.046 billion. It also raises the Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT) by one percent to 10.25 percent for 13 years, to December 31, 2030. This will provide $1.326 billion. SB4 permanently increases the counties’ share of the TAT from $93 million to $103 million. The measure reduces the State Department of Taxation’s administrative fee on the GET surcharge from 10 percent to one percent. The measure creates a Mass Transit Special Fund to review and disburse funds to the city for its costs on the rail project. It also requires a state run audit of the rail project and annual financial reviews.

Other “No” votes came from:

  • Russell Ruderman (D-Puna)
  • Laura Thielen (D-Hawaii Kai-Waimanalo-Kailua)
  • Roz Baker (D-West Maui-South Maui)
  • J. Kalani English (D-Molokai-Lanai-East Maui)
  • Josh Green (D-Naalehu-Kailua-Kona)
  • Breene Harimoto (D-Pearl Harbor-Pearl City-Aiea)
  • Lorraine Inouye (D-Kaupulehu-Waimea-North Hilo)
  • Kaiali‘i Kahele (D-Hilo)
  • Gil Riviere (D-Heeia-Laie-Waialua)


YES Votes came from mostly from Oahu.

A yes vote also came in from Kauai / Niihau from Ron Kouchi (D-Kauai-Niihau).

  • Stanley Chang (D-Diamond Head-Kahala-Hawaii Kai)
  • Donovan Dela Cruz (D-Wahiawa-Whitmore-Mililani Mauka)
  • Will Espero (D-Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point)
  • Mike Gabbard (D-Kapolei-Makakilo)
  • Brickwood Galuteria (D-Kakaako-McCully-Waikiki)
  • Les Ihara (D-Moiliili-Kaimuki-Palolo)
  • Gil Keith-Agaran (D-Waihee-Wailuku-Kahului)
  • Michelle Kidani (D-Mililani-Waikele-Kunia)
  • Donna Mercado Kim (D-Kalihi Valley-Moanalua-Halawa)
  • Clarence Nishihara (D-Waipahu-Pearl City)
  • Karl Rhoads (D-Downtown-Nuuanu-Liliha)
  • Maile Shimabukuro (D-Kalaeloa-Waianae-Makaha)
  • Jill Tokuda (D-Kailua-Kaneohe)
  • Glenn Wakai (D-Kalihi-Salt Lake-Aliamanu)
  • Ron Kouchi (D-Kauai-Niihau)
  • Brian Taniguchi (D-Makiki-Tantalus-Manoa)
  • Ron Kouchi (D-Kauai-Niihau)

The House Committees on Transportation and Finance advanced the bill after a long day of discussion. Transportation voted 4 to 2 in favor with one excused, and Finance voted 8 to 6 in favor of the bill with one excused, the house reported. Transportation members voting yes were: Henry Aquino, Nadine Nakamura, Joy San Buenaventura (with reservations), and Bob McDermott.

Voting no were: Sean Quinlan and Tom Brower. Mark Hashem was excused.


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