Many people are beginning to wrap their minds around the House Republicans’ proposed destination-based cash-flow tax and what it means for tax reform. Most people are still looking into the tax’s impacts on trade and how...
- The Tax Policy Blog
- Hawaii State of the State Address Seeks Wasteful Credits ...
Hawaii State of the State Address Seeks Wasteful Credits and Soda Tax
Hawaii Governor Abercrombie addressed the Hawaii legislature yesterday to offer his plans for the new year. Among his proposals was an effort to make Hawaii's Film Tax Credit program permanent as well as a plan to spend $1 million on a task force that will examine "solutions" to the obesity problem of Hawaii.
As we have noted on many occasions, film tax incentives do little to spur job growth, and the jobs they do are create are fleeting. Of course with any tax credit lawmakers must take into account the fact that revenue allocated to credits is money that cannot be spent elsewhere in the budget.
I'm personally convinced that many lawmakers and voters approve these generous benefits just because they think movies are sexy—they like to see their home state on the big screen. Abercrombie's speech gives credence to this notion: "the film industry also depends on showcasing the beauty and variety of our aloha state. We've seen what these islands can look like on big screen and television." The glamour of the movies shouldn't inform tax credit decisions.
As for soda taxes, I see Hawaii as a battleground state for a sugar-sweetened beverage tax in the coming years. In 2011, four bills were introduced in the Hawaii the legislature that proposed a 1 cent/ounce tax on sugary drinks with Orwellian names like the "Sugary Beverage Healthy Hawaii Fee" (by the way, it isn't a fee, it's a tax).
Abercrombie makes a misstep on his description of the science behind soda taxes though, saying, "the link between sugar-sweetened beverages and health is undeniable." As I noted in the Washington Post last weekend, the science is unclear about the link between soda consumption and obesity. Further, an excise tax on soda (which is almost certainly what the million-dollar task force will recommend) necessarily falls on all consumers of soda, even those that use soda in a moderate, appropriate manner.
The theme of Abercrombie's speech was "Pupukahi I Holomua," or, "Unite to Move Forward." If Hawaii wants to move forward, it needs to leave these backwards tax policies behind.
More on Hawaii here.
More on sugar and snack taxes here.
Follow Scott Drenkard on Twitter @ScottDrenkard.
Get Email Updates from the Tax Foundation
Join the Tax Foundation's fight for sound tax policy Go
About the Tax Policy Blog
The Tax Policy Blog is the official blog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.
Recent Blog Posts
Related State Articles
- 2017 State Business Tax Climate Index Released Today!
- Lunch Links: States React to Internet Sales Tax Proposal Unveiled by House Judiciary Chairman; Income Tax Off Ballot in Olympia, WA; $1B Hawaii Surplus Up for Grabs
- Lunch Links: Republican Plan Upcoming for Sales Tax on Internet Buys; Walmart Avoids Excessive Tax Proposed by Puerto Rico; Explaining Why States Should Index Tax Brackets for Inflation
- 1 of 12
- next ›