Pirates of the Pacific

Capt. Jack Sparrow could learn a thing or two about looting and plundering from some members of the Hawaii Legislature.

Some apparently believe the answer to state revenue shortfalls is just to steal it from the counties.

The legislators think nothing of making an absolute grab for the counties’ share of the transient accommodations tax.

Now, state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim has introduced a bill (SB1213) that would take away half of public utility franchise tax revenues the counties now receive.

Who would get that revenue? Why, the state, of course.

An amended version of the bill would put off implementation until 2050 – but who knows what version of the bill would pass? And, no matter when it is implemented, it is a terrible – and disdainful – idea.

Basically, the state is telling the counties, “Hey, we want more money, so we’re just going to take it away from you. We’re going to solve our money woes by taking your revenues – now it’s your problem.”

Last week, Mayor Alan Arakawa and County Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa were at the Legislature testifying against SB 359, which is this year’s version of “Let’s Steal The Counties’ Shares” of the transient accommodations tax. A Friday story in The Maui News said the TAT is Maui County’s second largest revenue source at $20 million to $25 million.

Write, phone, text, email or send a smoke signal to our state legislators and tell them to stop these attempted raids on county budgets.

State and county governments are supposed to cooperate to solve problems. Constituents need to remind our state legislators they expect a partnership – not a looting of county coffers.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.