Rep. Roy Takumi: Is It Time To Cut Hawaii’s Gas Taxes? - Honolulu Civil Beat

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About the Author

Roy Takumi

Roy Takumi represents the 35th district (Pearl City to Manana to Waipio) in the Hawaii House of Representatives.


There are several bills still alive during this legislative session that will provide much needed relief to working families, such as measures that would raise the minimum wage and make the earned income tax credit permanent.

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However, Hawaii families continue to struggle with the high cost of living and we should consider other, more immediate efforts to support our communities as we continue to recover from the pandemic. One way would be to suspend the state tax on gasoline.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the national average for the price of gas went up by 70 cents a gallon, the highest since the financial crisis in 2008. A recent AAA survey showed that 75% of Americans would adjust their lifestyle if the price of gas reached $5, an amount Hawaii already has exceeded.

According to AAA, Hawaii drivers are already paying $5.08 a gallon for gas, third highest in the country after California and Nevada. Suspending the state’s 17 cent-a-gallon fuel tax for the rest of the year would put hard-earned dollars directly into the pockets of consumers.

A growing number of governors and state lawmakers across the country are doing this to provide relief to drivers, especially since higher pump prices are expected as we cut off Russian oil imports.

So far, Connecticut, Georgia and Maryland have suspended their state gas tax for periods ranging from one month to three months. Nineteen other states are considering doing the same.

Nationally, governors from Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin recently sent a letter to congressional leaders seeking a suspension of the federal government’s 18.4-cent-a-gallon tax through the end of the year. Hawaii should join this effort.

We should use every tool at our disposal to provide relief to Hawaii’s families.

There is understandable concern that by doing this, it would mean that the state highway fund would take a hit. But Hawaii, like many other states, will have a healthy cash surplus due to the influx of federal pandemic aid and a growing economic recovery which resulted in higher than expected income and general excise tax revenue.

Suspending the gas tax will put almost $7 million dollars a month back into the pockets of consumers that they can spend on other necessities such as groceries, rent and child care.

There is also legislation pending in Congress that would offset revenue lost by suspending the federal gas tax by transferring matching general fund dollars to states’ highway and public transit programs.

Suspending the gas tax even for a limited time will benefit all of us, especially low-wage earners. It is not a cure-all and market instability will continue to affect prices, but we should use every tool at our disposal to provide relief to Hawaii’s families.

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About the Author

Roy Takumi

Roy Takumi represents the 35th district (Pearl City to Manana to Waipio) in the Hawaii House of Representatives.


Latest Comments (0)

Suspending some or all of Hawaii's outrageous gasoline tax is a much better way to serve the populous than a measly $100.00 tax rebate. Lifting the tax would directly benefit taxpayers more effectively and directly, particularly for lower income families. This is the way more politicians should be thinking, lower the cost of living in order to reverse the outflow of residents to the mainland. Kudos to Takumi for bringing it up now lets make sure the rest of the legislature know that if they don't take this seriously there will be consequences come election day. Regarding the question of funding roadway maintenance, there is so little done with all the taxes, that we won't even miss it. We have some of the worst roads in the nation and it's not for lack of money, it's lack of government prioritizing properly paved and maintained roadways. I could also add that Hawaii's unionized labor mandate only increases the cost of doing any work, without any significant quality benefits.

wailani1961 · 4 months ago

As Hawaii has everything shipped in, Gas Prices will definitely increase as well as every other essential daily commodity.That acknowledged, Legis should begin providing relief to our residents by temporarily suspending State Tax on Gas because that is one of the ways to quickly expedite a remedy that will positively impact many businesses, families, and individuals who are All being "Financially Crushed" by Economic Inflation.Basically, "Any Financial Relief Now Is Very Much Needed, Warranted & Appreciated."

PSpects · 4 months ago

To help working families financially the Legislature should pass HB 2278, which would assess a tax on fossil fuels and distribute the tax revenues to people in equal share in the form of a refundable tax credit. Since the average working family uses less fossil fuel than the average rich family, they would have a net financial gain. Their tax credit would be bigger than the increase in prices paid as a result of the tax. Rich families would have a net loss or small net gain. People would be incentivized to use less fossil fuel, and that would help the planet and future generations by mitigating climate change.

sleepingdog · 4 months ago

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