To Our Readers

By John Flanagan

Saturday, January 18, 1997

Taxing our way
to prosperity?

My wife still calls Speaker of the House Joe Souki - "Sukiyaki" because of his association with former Senate president Jim Aki.

When Souki coyly suggested in his opening-day speech that raising taxes shouldn't be considered out of bounds, it made me wonder if there's too much sake in his soup.

Now, Mayor Jeremy Harris suggests that property taxes be based on last year's assessments. Since real estate values have slumped by about 3.9 percent, many property owners hoped they had a tax break coming.

Our leaders must figure we'll need something to do with all that money we'll save on auto insurance premiums - assuming the Legislature gets around to fixing that mess. After all, the first order of business is to get the credit for resolving the same-sex marriage issue, building more prisons and finally nixing the high-three pension perk.

They talk about providing a better climate for business by cutting regulations. That would help, but the only real incentive for new business is to cut taxes.

New Zealand Consul-General Jim Howell recently described his country's economic renaissance. In 12 years, the Kiwis dropped taxes from more than 60 to about 35 percent, downsized, re-engineered and privatized government functions, and dropped farm subsidies. Unemployment fell and business boomed.

No, it wasn't easy, but it worked.

John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 525-8612, fax to 523-8509, send
e-mail to or write to
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.

© copyright 1997, Honolulu Star-Bulletin. All rights reserved.

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