Tuesday, September 2, 2008

LRB Report on ConCon costs now available

The Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) has completed its analysis on the cost range of a Constitutional Convention, in response to House Concurrent Resolution No. 231, HD1, adopted during the 2008 legislative session. The estimated cost range in 2008 dollars is $6,413,441 to $41,739,273. The report adjusts the figures for 2010, 2011 and 2012 due to inflation.

The LRB is a non-partisan agency and is not advocating for or against a Constitutional Convention. A copy was provided to lawmakers today and is available to the public online at: http://hawaii.gov/lrb/rpts08/costcon.pdf.

In summary, the report notes that:

It is extremely likely that the final cost will be an intermediate amount that reflects a variety of tradeoffs among cost elements…While the low cost elements identified in this report may be achievable, it may not be surprising if legislators are lobbied to support policies that could drive costs to much higher levels, such as:

*Making the convention more "inclusive" (more rather than fewer delegates)
*Paying delegates and staffs a "living wage" (higher salaries)
*Recognizing the influence of "special interests (publicly funded elections) and
*Providing greater public information and access (more extensive broadcasting of proceedings)

The LRB's estimated cost range varies significantly from the Lt. Governor's Con Con Task Force Final Report which concluded a cost range of $2,329,656 to $11,114,045.

"Whether you are for, against or neutral on a Constitutional Convention, this is a thorough and comprehensive report and I urge the public to review both reports prior to voting," said Rep. Kirk Caldwell, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. "A change to the Hawaii State Constitution is not something that we should take lightly. It's important that we distinguish between constitutional issues and legislative issues, as well as consider the costs involved which will ultimately fall upon the taxpayers."

UPDATE: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin story is here. The Advertiser is here.

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