Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty


City Council to Raise User Fees by grassroothawaii
January 4, 2011, 1:50 pm
Filed under: Economy | Tags:

by Frances Nuar

How nice would it have been to have a headline that says “Lowering User Fees on Council Agenda”?

Instead we get the headline “Raising User Fees on Council Agenda”, a typical move it seems here on our islands. Because that’s what our government has been doing, over and over again. Raising taxes, raising fees, to pay for the plethora of  ever-increasing bills the city has been racking up.

Some of the fees they are looking to increase: parking fees, garbage collection, and emergency response units. These are all things we can’t do without, things we need to survive, and Council members have the audacity to tell us to “use or lose”– for example, if we don’t want to pay parking fees, we can always take public transportation. Do you think any of the Council members have ever used public transit? I’m going to guess not, because it’s not exactly the most convenient or efficient way around town.

One huge project they are looking to fund now: the $7.2 billion dollar rail project. The GET tax was already raised on Oahu from 4% to 4.5% to help fund the project, but now with $1.5 billion that the new Congress might not approve, that extra money has got to come from somewhere. So all I see in the foreseeable future is more headlines about fees being raised. I’m begging for the new Council to surprise me.

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2 Comments so far
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Aloha, i tend to defend the implementation of “user fees” in this isolated instance.If I understand correctly that the thrust of this blog is sympathetic toward the merits of free-market economics, this case approaches an example of public goods and negative externalities.
The entire genesis of this user’s fee topic arose when the city decided to take the camping permits process online. In the process of doing so, the city immediately realized how the rampant abuse presently occurring, (the glut of demand from $0 priced permits) would be intolerably EXACERBATED if the system were to become accessible online. Thus the fee discussion was truly only initiated to mitigate the abuse presently underway and to expand accessibility to the many others who are otherwise barred by transaction costs. The quite minimal fee discourages exploitative behavior, and shores up a small portion of the costs to maintain park facilities (not otherwise borne by users).

Comment by Ryan M. Akamine

I wonder when was the last time they increased green fees for municipal courses. I know a couple years ago you could play Ala Wai course for as little as $4–if you were willing to wait 3 hours!

Comment by Jamie




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