Thursday, July 25, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, April 14, 2019
Blankety Blank
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 4110 Views :: Taxes

Blankety Blank

by Tom Yamachika, President, Tax Foundation Hawaii

The story you are about to read is true. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent. This is the city: Honolulu, Hawaii. I live here. I’m a doggie. The suspect is Blankety Blank.

No, that isn’t a cuss word. It’s just the facts, ma’am.

Blankety Blank is House Bill 1190. Its purpose, should you decide to accept it, is “to amend state income tax rates and provide tax relief for taxpayers whose income places them at or below the poverty level.”

But here’s what the bill actually says (for married filing jointly, with other filing statuses having similar language):

In the case of any taxable year beginning after December 31, 2018:

If the taxable income is: The tax shall be:

Over $6,600 but not over $9,600 ___% of excess over $6,600

Over $9,600 but not over $28,800 $___ plus ___% of excess over $9,600

Over $28,800 but not over $38,400 $___ plus ___% of excess over $28,800

Over $38,400 but not over $48,000 $___ plus ___% of excess over $38,400

Over $48,000 but not over $72,000 $___ plus ___% of excess over $48,000

The list goes on, but I’m sure you get the idea. Blanks, blanks, and more blanks.

We don’t know if it’s a tax cut, a tax hike, or something in between. Nevertheless, the bill has oodles of supporters, including the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Rainbow Family 808, Americans for Democratic Action Hawaii, Hawaiian Community Assets, Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, League of Women Voters of Hawaii, Oahu County Democrats, and numerous individuals. We wonder if all those supporters were aware that they were supporting Blankety Blank. Maybe they believed the statements about the bill’s intent, or maybe they just didn’t care about what was in the blanks.

Blankety Blank passed the House on March 5th with no one voting “No” and no one voting “Aye with reservations.”

The Senate Ways and Means Committee amended it slightly (but didn’t fill in any of the blanks) and passed it out with no dissent on March 29. At this writing, it was awaiting third reading in the Senate, after which it will go to a conference committee.

The conference committee conducts its deliberations behind the scenes, and only schedules public meetings when it comes time to vote on the conference draft. The conference draft, if one is produced, will have the real numbers in it. Once that draft is released to the public, we will finally know whether we are looking at a tax hike, a tax cut, or something revenue neutral.

The Hawaii Constitution states: “No bill shall become law unless it shall pass three readings in each house on separate days.” The Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of 1950 said that those readings provide “the opportunity for full debate in the open before committees and in each House, during the course of which the purposes of the measures, and their meaning, scope, and probable effect, and the validity of the alleged facts and arguments given in their support can be fully examined, and if false or unsound, can be exposed, before any action of consequence is taken thereon.”

So how do you discuss a Blankety Blank? Can you really debate the measure’s purpose, meaning, scope, or probable effect without knowing whether you are talking about a tax hike or a tax cut?

This is a true story. The end of the story has not yet been written. We too will be following House Bill 1190 and will bark like crazy if something goes awry. Ours is a tough job but someone has to do it. The name’s Watch Doggie.


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii