Lawmakers consider raising the cost of living in Honolulu

Local News

The Honolulu City Council is considering key proposals that would raise more money for the city by taking more money out of your pocket.

So which ones could cost you the most, and which ones are likely to pass?

Many council members are split with raising the cost of living in Honolulu. On Tuesday, we spoke with Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga, who says it especially burdens those on fixed incomes like seniors.

First on the list: the county’s motor vehicle weight tax. The proposal (Bill 10) would increase that tax from 5 to 6 cents per pound.

So if you own a four-door sedan, your vehicle registration could go up about $30.

The first vote to keep advancing the proposal passed unanimously.

“I think a lot of people on fixed incomes, they don’t necessarily have cars. They are not necessarily driving. They are taking public transportation, so I don’t think it’s much of a hot-button issue among seniors,” Fukunaga said.

For those who take TheBus or TheHandi-Van, you may also have to pay more.

Right now senior citizens and people with disabilities pay $30 for an annual pass. If a measure to increase public transportation fares passes (Bill 28), they’ll see a $5 increase.

Fukunaga voted against the measure, along with three others.

“I’ve received a number of complaints from seniors who expressed concerns about the increase in bus fees and any other kinds of changes,” she said. “They said pretty soon they are going to be priced out of being able to live here.”

Then there’s a new fee for trash pickup, which is something homeowners never had to pay.

For single-family homes with green, gray, and blue bins, residents could possibly end up paying $10 a month.

Those against this measure (Bill 29) say it would create more illegal dumping.

“They believe property taxes are there for a reason, and one of the primary areas for city services is what they believe is covered and should be in the form of the trash collections,” Fukunaga said.

The trash pickup fee bill barely advanced on a 5-4 vote.

These measures will be taken up by the budget committee on Wednesday.

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