Kudos to Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle for proving her pen can be mightier than her tax and spend legislature with her veto of HB 2421, legislation that would have imposed a 2000% tax increase on petroleum products.
Proponents of this massive energy tax hike employed that tired strategy centered mostly around the demonization of energy companies – you know – those entities that maintain our way of life and facilitate economic growth. Gov. Lingle, in vetoing this energy tax increase, demonstrates that she, unlike her legislature, understands that businesses don’t pay taxes, people do and that a massive tax hike on oil would lead to higher energy prices and utility bills for Hawaiians.
However, it remains to be seen if Lingle’s veto is enough to stave of yet another tax increase in the Aloha State. The legislature is expected to take up a veto override vote tomorrow and they certainly have the votes to do so. Legislative Democrats, who handily control the Hawaii Senate 23-2 and the House 45-5, can pretty much do whatever they want and their answer to nearly every single fiscal challenge facing the state is simple and consistent – higher taxes.
Last year the legislature, overriding vetoes from Lingle, enacted higher taxes on income, property, and tobacco products. Hawaiians pay the highest state income tax rate in the country and have the 5th highest tax burden among states. To add insult to injury, Harry Reid and Pelosi have piled on with $670 billion in higher taxes in just the past year. If Hawaiian Democrats can’t hold off of raising taxes in such an environment, they never will. While ATR is urging the legislature to sustain Lingle’s veto, the legislature’s track record leaves little room for optimism. Fortunately for Hawaii taxpayers, November is fast approaching. If there is any state house in the country that could use a makeover, it’s Hawaii’s.