Friday, May 26, 2017   Search

Current Articles | Archives | Search

Sunday, March 12, 2017
A Constitutional Amendment for Education Wars
By Tom Yamachika @ 4:01 AM :: 1040 Views :: Education K-12, Labor, Taxes
 

A Constitutional Amendment for Education Wars

by Tom Yamachika, President, Tax Foundation Hawaii

A bill in the legislature, championed by the state teachers' union, would propose a new way of raising additional money for education. It would authorize a substantial surcharge on real property to fund education.

The bill would require an amendment to the Hawaii Constitution to be effective. That is because our constitution now gives all revenue from real property tax to the counties. One thing that was not so obvious, however, is that the same bill proposed another change in the constitution that has not been discussed in detail yet. It’s easy to miss, but has a potentially far-reaching effect.

By itself, the proposed amendment doesn't sound like much. Article X, section 1 of our constitution now begins with, "The State shall provide for the establishment, support and control of a statewide system of public education". The bill, SB 683, would change it to, "The State shall make sufficient sums available for the establishment, support and control of a statewide system of quality public education".

The "shall make sufficient sums available" language is used in one more place in our constitution. It's in Article XII, Section 1, relating to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Our supreme court, in Nelson v. Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, 127 Haw. 185, 277 P.3d 279 (2012), held that the language is “mandatory funding language,” which means that if the state legislature decides for whatever reason not to “sufficiently” fund DHHL, DHHL has a right to ask the courts to force the State to pay “sufficient sums,” if there is enough information within the history of the constitutional provision to give the courts a good idea of what “sufficient sums” means.

In other words, the “sufficient sums” language is a ticket to an education war. The Legislature comes up with its judgment of what is sufficient funding for education; the Department of Education, HSTA, or whoever is affected disagrees; and they would battle it out in court.

Would there ever be an education war? Suppose for a second that the constitutional amendment goes to the voters, the voters approve it, and the surcharges go into effect. Let’s say, for purposes of argument, that the surcharges bring in $500 million. (The current version of the implementing legislation bill would bring in less, but if the constitutional amendment passes, there is nothing to stop the implementing legislation from being amended. Yes, we could be opening our checkbooks wide!) At that point, everyone in state government outside of the Department of Education is going to be leaning on the Legislature to say, “Hey! You folks appropriated $2 billion to the Department of Education last year. They pulled down $500 million from the surcharges this year. How about dropping their appropriation to $1.5 billion this year? They will get the same amount of money, so they won’t be hurt. And our program/service/rebate/tax incentive could really use the extra help this year, and would make such a difference to the people of Hawaii!” Those within education, however, are likely to want the surcharge money on top of the $2 billion already going to the DOE. Otherwise, why the tremendous effort to get the constitutional amendment passed?

Variations on the education war theme could also come up. Some could argue that our constitution requires bills to have titles that gives the public a fair idea of what is in them. The title of SB 683 talks about establishing tax surcharges, but does not give a clue that it is now mandating funding unlike the rules for every state agency outside of DHHL. So, if it is passed, its validity can be attacked. The education wars could get complex and nasty.

As of this writing, the Senate Ways and Means Committee took out the “sufficient sums” language. The bill now goes to the House. Proponents of the bill may push to get the language back in. Will we see education wars in years to come?

Comments
LINKS:

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

ARCHIVES: Daily News Read

ARCHIVES: HawaiiFreePress

JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST

RSS FEED Latest 25 articles

TWITTER HawaiiFreePress

FaceBook: HawaiiFreePress

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A'ole Eradication

A Place for Women in Waipio

Atomic Monkey

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Choice is an Illusion

Christian Home Educators of Maui

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

December 7 Battlefields at risk

DeedySupport.com

DefendOurKeiki.com

DVids Hawaii

Education Institute of Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Friends of Lanai

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

GoGoGMO!

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii-Israel Alignment

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Knights of Columbus

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii Open Budget

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

HawaiiReporter.com

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Senate Informer

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Votes

Hepsy's Kuleana

Heritage Foundation

HHUA

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu TEA Party

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

Hunting, Farming and Fishing Assoc.

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kahua Group

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Kona TEA Party

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

No Hawaii Beverage Tax

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

OHA Lies

Ohana Policy Group

OpenHawaii.org

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Perry and Price Show

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

Senate Minority FB

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Stop SB2424

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

TEA Party Maui

TFB Micronesia

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

The Voice of Kapolei

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

United Veterans Hawaii

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

YAL UH Hilo 

Yes2TMT


Maui TEA Party
Maui TEA Party