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The Tax Foundation of Hawaii is your eye on state taxes. We educate and encourage the efficient and effective use of public funds (our tax dollars) to operate government and deliver public services. To do that, we conduct extensive research and analysis of city, county, and state finance, budgets, and tax systems, and we track changes in tax law and how taxpayer dollars are used.
Our work is published and distributed as widely as possible and free of charge. A well-informed public (and this includes lawmakers) that understands the impact of our tax system can more effectively participate in pressing for greater government efficiency and accountability. That way we know our tax dollars are well spent.
We look at how government raises the money it spends, be it taxes, user fees, or borrowing money through the use of debt. The Foundation attempts to unravel the mystery of the state budget with an annual review of legislative actions appropriating various funds for state programs and projects. While the bulk of our attention is garnered by state actions as it is at that level that the overwhelming array of services are provided by government in Hawaii, the Foundation also keeps a watchful eye on county governments as they annually set real property tax rates in order to fund their respective budgets.
There is no other organization in the state of Hawaii which has so comprehensively and consistently followed government finances over the years from its last days as a territory to all of its years as a fledgling state.