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Saturday, February 19, 2022
On the Move in the Legislature: the good, the bad and the ugly
By Grassroot Institute @ 2:57 AM :: 1005 Views :: Hawaii State Government

Institute testifies on more bills: the good, the bad and the ugly

from Grassroot Institute, Feb 18, 2022

It would be wonderful if someday most of the measures at the Capitol were about scaling back the size of our state government

There is usually little to cheer about when the Legislature is in session.

It is a time when the Capitol is filled with eager beavers introducing their thousands of bills with hopes of solving the state's many economic and social problems.

But rather than relying on individual liberty and economic freedom to achieve their goals, their approach usually is to confiscate, ban or regulate. 

Nevertheless, we put our best foot forward and try to demonstrate through facts, logic and sincere aloha that there are better ways to achieve the goals most of us share: a lower cost of living, affordable housing, better healthcare, greater job and business opportunities, and enjoying Hawaii and all its beautiful wonders.

Below are some of the bills we weighed in on this past week.

The good bills, more or less:

>> SB2916, which would prohibit the governor or mayors from suspending requests for public records or vital statistics during a declared state of emergency.

>> SB3252, which would limit public records fees.

>> HB1751, which would authorize counties to adopt ordinances allowing up to one dwelling per quarter-acre in rural districts, provided that the ordinances are consistent with the county general plan and community development plan.

>> SB2888, which would establish the Access to Local Food Act, thereby empowering Hawaii’s cottage food operations to sell locally produced cottage food, in keeping with a recommendation we made in our May 2020 report "Road map to prosperity."

The bad and badder bills:

>> SB3182, SD1, which would establish a "wealth asset tax" of 1% on the state net worth of each individual taxpayer who holds $20 million or more in assets in the state." Whatever the intention behind this bill, it seems clear that its main effect will be to encourage creative accounting strategies that ensure one falls below the threshold for this tax. Alternatively, it will encourage wealthy individuals to simply leave Hawaii.

>> SB3250, SD1, which would establish two additional income tax rates for individuals making more than $5 million a year, joint filers making $10 million or more, and estates and trusts with more than $200,000 in annual income. It also would establish a working group for the development of a state "wealth tax" — and give Hawaii the highest income tax rate in the country. Like SB182, SD1, it would be another great way to encourage capital flight.

>> SB3025, SD1, a complicated, 90-page tome that would cut off Hawaii from the emerging cryptocurrency market.

>> HB2408, which proposes an annually adjusted minimum-wage based on the three-year average of the consumer price index.

>> HB2510, which among other things would increase Hawaii’s mandatory minimum wage to $18 an hour by 2030.

To read our testimonies on each of the bills, click on the bill numbers.

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