Finance chair, Rep. Marcus Oshiro, and House Majority Whip, Rep. Pono Chong, submitted a letter to the Honolulu Star Advertiser in disagreement to an opinion piece penned by Lowell Kalapa of the Hawaii Tax Foundation.
Mr. Kalapa urged a "No" vote on the constitutional amendment which gives the legislature the option, if there is a budget surplus for two years in a row, to provide a tax refund or deposit the surplus into a rainy day fund.
The Oshiro/Chong letter appeared today as follows:
Let Legislature control surplus
Regarding the constitutional amendment question on the general election ballot, we disagree with Lowell Kalapa ("Don't let Legislature keep budget surplus, keep refunds instead," Star-Advertiser, Oct. 21) and urge voters to vote "Yes." This is the amendment that would allow the Legislature a choice, given the situation, to put surplus funds into a rainy day fund or to provide a refund to the taxpayers.
If the state had a $1 million surplus, I think that most people would rather see the money used for good causes such as education or the homeless rather than get a $1 tax refund. One dollar might buy you a cup of coffee, but collectively, those dollars could add up to avoid teacher furloughs or restore agriculture and food safety inspectors. Right now, the Legislature does not have a choice and is mandated to give back a return, even if it is only $1 per taxpayer.
Vote yes. It's the prudent, logical and fiscally responsible thing to do.
Rep. Marcus Oshiro House Finance chairman;
Rep. Pono Chong Majority whip