The tax review commission took public testimony Tuesday on two consultant reports that examined the state’s current tax policy and structure.
Retired state highways worker Douglas Meller just turned 65, and got on Medicare 10 days ago.
He came down to the Capitol to be a voice, one out of many, chiming in against a long list of possible ways to raise money for the state's coffers.
The Tax Foundation of Hawaii said the last two tax review commissions flagged the need to think about taxing pensions as workers got older.
Meller feels doing so now, would amount to reneging on an implied contract with its public workers.
"We were told if we paid taxes on our income and then took that taxed income and contributed, we would in turn receive non-taxed larger pensions,” Mellen said.
Nonprofits appealed to the commission, not to do away with their tax exemptions.
"Real people are helped every day by the thousands of nonprofits across the state that are dedicated for the public good. Services that are here today will not be here tomorrow if GET exemptions are lost," said Lisa Maruyama, of the Hawaii Alliance of Non-profits.
The Hotel Association spoke against raising the transit accommodation tax, saying Hawaii can’t afford to out price its hotel rooms, if it expects to be competitive with other destinations.
"The point is our business is cyclical. The question is not if but when it will happen with a downturn, and if the taxes are higher than what it is now, what then?" said Max Sword of the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts.