Governor May Veto 68 oz. Bottle Tax Bill

Governor Linda Lingle may veto SB 3181 which would apply the 6¢ bottle tax to 68oz. containers. The beverage container tax program which was started in late 2004 puts a surcharge of 6¢ on every beverage container under 68 oz. That means canned sodas, juices, bottled water and more are taxed an extra 6¢ on top of the 4.16% general excise tax paid on all goods sold in Hawaii. Consumers get 5¢ of the 6¢ back if they return each container. Consumers lose a penny per container after they redeem them. The penny is applied cover “administrative expenses” due to the state for running the recycling program.

When the tax was implemented it forced me to change my purchasing habits. I like many others simply stopped buying beverages that came in smaller containers.

Fortunately, if the Governor holds true to her stated intentions, by July 11 the threat of the bottle tax being applied to 68oz. containers will have passed for this year.

From the Governor’s press release, her rationale on the probable veto to this bad bill:

    SB 3181: RELATING TO SOLID WASTE

    “Explanation: This bill would expand beverage container fees to containers up to 68 ounces in size, but provides no mechanism to allow the orderly implementation of re-labeling and replacement of non-labeled product before the bill takes effect. Further, the bill would likely have a disproportionate impact on families who buy these larger containers. Additionally these larger containers cannot be recycled using reverse vending machines and have not been shown to make up a significant portion of litter along roadways, beaches and other public areas.”

Overall, the Governor plans to veto 28 bills in addition to the 5 she already vetoed earlier this year. These potential bill vetoes include the ban on commercial opihi selling (SB 2006) and the ban on the public from using the Kaneohe Bay sandbar for recreational purposes (SB 2004). A number of bad labor bills are also on the probable veto list.

Cigarette smokers better be leary of the increase to the cigarette tax, as the bill (SB 2961) to increase it was not on her list.

Good news for the anti-Kakaako Makai development people. HB 2555 which puts a ban on residential development of Kakaako Makai is not on her veto list. Supporters of this bill were fearful that the bill would be vetoed. The “Save Our Kakaako” coalition staged an 11th hour rally this past Saturday on Ala Moana Boulevard to publicly voice their opinion against residential development and the sale of the last ocean-front, open space lands in Honolulu to a commercial developer.

More information:

* Governor’s Press Release – Potential Bill Vetoes (6-26-06)
* Hawaii State Legislature – A good place to do bill research.

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