The ”’Honolulu Advertiser”’ today opted to tell their readers in their top front page story in that the “Legislature OKs Care Bill.”

“Care” Bill? Come on.

What the headline should read: “Legislators Pass the Highest-Ever Tax in Hawaii’s History” or how about a real headline, “The Long-term Care Tax is Nothing But a Grab for Money, Power.”

Make no mistake. What the majority Democrats in the House and Senate did yesterday when they passed the long-term care tax bill — generating the highest tax increase in Hawaii’s history and imposing a mandatory monthly tax on nearly all adults in Hawaii — was not “caring” as the Honolulu Advertiser likes to promote. Nor was it compassionate, responsible, reasonable, rational or one bit good for the people of Hawaii. It was not for the children or the elderly of Hawaii.

Ultimately the largest tax increase was passed by legislators for legislators who want to gain more power, more money and more control to better their own lives, careers and pocketbooks. While some are socialists and genuinely believe they are being compassionate, this pillage was spearheaded and taken advantage of by legislators who don’t mind taking money away from the youth or the elderly or people who are working two or three jobs trying to make ends meet.

What did legislators actually decide to do yesterday, the 59th day of the 60-day legislative session? They passed legislation mandating nearly everyone in Hawaii between the ages of 25 and 99 pay the government an additional tax between $10 and $25 per month, which constitutes the highest-ever tax increase in Hawaii’s history. This when Hawaii residents already have the fourth-highest tax burden in the nation. They established a new special fund — expected to reach $1 billion in 8 years — that will allegedly be used to redistribute that funding to anyone who qualifies before a yet-to-be-determined board for long-term care and who is vested in the program for 10 years or more. They grew government by authorizing more bureaucracy be recruited to run and manage the program, and by adding more mandates to the people of Hawaii.

Don’t be fooled. This program is not for the poor and needy who are already taken care of by federal and state funds. This program is for the middle class, the wealthy, who can buy their own long-term care private plan, sell their property or dip into savings to cover their long-term care expenses, but who choose to have the government and taxpayers take care of them. Middle class and wealthy who may be lulled into believing the state is meeting their long-term needs, thus being discouraged from saving or investing it in long-term care insurance.

The message the majority of Democrat lawmakers is sending by passing this legislation is “Don’t trust the free-market, rather rely on government.” (We’re from the government, we are here to help you.) Hawaii’s people are not smart enough to take care of themselves, and Hawaii’s families are not compassionate enough to take care of each other. Hawaii’s people should be punished in advance for not taking care of themselves in their later years, especially those on fixed incomes who will pay the same amount as those with higher incomes, and who will be pushed further into debt and poverty with this tax.

Most appalling — these elected officials are perpetuating fraud on the very people who put them into office, entrusted them with their well-being and who are paying them.

Fraud because they are promising to take care of those needing long-term care vested in the system for 10 years, but they have absolutely no intention of doing so. Rather they will merely authorize the long-term care patient up to $70 per day for one year and one year only. Never mind long-term care costs are much more than that per day now, and will be considerably more in 10 years when the first group of long-term care guinea pigs may get their $70 per day. Never mind people do live longer than one year in elderly care facilities, yet after one year, they will be out of money and out of luck.

Fraud because what this debate is all about is not caring for the elderly of Hawaii. It is about money, power and control. People have fewer options when they have fewer resources and as a result, their freedoms and choices are restricted. Conversely, legislators have more choices when they have more taxpayer money to spend on the programs and special interest legislation they want to support. And they have more power and control to determine who benefits from that wealth and how that will help forward their lives, their political and professional careers, and their pocketbooks.

Hawaii voters must remember those Democrat legislators who voted yes yesterday to taking away their freedoms, their options and control over their own lives and who tipped the scales of prosperity away from the people who earned it, toward the people who simply like to take it away.

They must send a message now through emails, faxes and phone calls to the legislators, to the governor and to the media who applaud this legislation that it is not “caring,” rather extremely punishing and detrimental to Hawaii’s people and that they are not fooled as to who will truly benefit. They must send a message now and through the elections of 2004 their action is not “OK.”

”Senators Voting in Favor of Long-term Care Tax (16)”

*Roz Baker, D- Maui
*Robert Bunda, D-North Shore
*Suzanne Chun Oakland, D-Nuuanu
*Kalani English, D-Maui
*Carol Fukunaga, D-Makiki
*Colleen Hanabusa, D-Waianae
*Gary Hooser, D-Kauai
*Les Ihara, D-Kaimuki
*Lorraine Inouye, D-Big Island
*Brian Kanno, D-Kapolei
*Cal Kawamoto, D-Waipahu
*Donna Kim, D-Kalihi
*Russell Kokubun, D-Big Island
*Ron Menor, D-Mililani
*Norman Sakamoto, D-Moanalua
*Brian Taniguchi, D-Manoa

”Senators Voting Against Long-term Care Tax Bill (9)”

*Melodie Aduja, D-Kahaluu
*Willie Espero, D-Ewa
*Fred Hemmings, R-Kailua
*Bob Hogue, R-Kaneohe
*David Ige, D-Pearl City
*Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai
*Gordon Trimble, R-Waikiki
*Shan Tsutsui, D-Maui
*Paul Whalen, R-Big Island

”Representatives Voting in Favor of Long-term Care Tax Bill (27)”

*Felipe P. Abinsay, D-Sand Island
*Dennis Arakaki, D-Kalihi
*Jerry Chang, D-Big Island
*Helene Hale, D-Big Island
*Eric Hamakawa, D-Big Island
*Robert Herkes, D-Big Island
*Kenneth Hiraki, D-Iwalei
*Ken Ito, D-Kaneohe
*Michael Kahekina, D-Nanikuli
*Sol Kaho’ohalahala, D-Maui County
*Ezra Kanoho, D-Kauai
*Bertha Kawakami, D-Kauai
*Marilyn Lee, D-Mililani
*Sylvia Luke, D-Punchbowl
*Michael Y. Magaoay, D-North Shore
*Hermina Morita, D-Kauai
*Blake Oshiro, D-Aiea
*Marcus Oshiro, D-Wahiawa
*Scott Saiki, D-McCully
*Calvin Say, D-Kalihi
*Brian Shatz, D-Tantalus
*Maile Shimabukaro, D-Waianae
*Joseph Souki, D-Maui
*K. Mark Takai, D-Pearl City
*Dwight Takamine, D-Big Island
*Roy Takumi, D-Waipahu
*Glenn Wakai, D-Moanalua Valley

”Representatives Voting Against Long-term Care Tax Bill (24)”

*Brian Blundell, R-Maui
*Kika Bukoski, R-Maui
*Kirk Caldwell, D-Manoa
*Corrine Ching, R-Nuuanu
*Cindy Evans, D-Big Island
*Lynn Finnegan, R-Stadium
*Galen Fox, R-Waikiki
*Chris Halford, R-Maui
*Mark Jernigan, R-Big Island
*Jon Karamatsu, D-Waipahu
*Bertha Leong, R-Aina Haina
*Barbara Marumoto, R-Kahala
*Colleen Meyer, R-Kahaluu
*Romy Mindo, D-Ewa
*Mark Moses, R-Kapolei
*Bob Nakasone, D-Maui
*Scott Nishimoto, D-Kaimuki
*Guy Ontai, R-Mililani
*David Pendleton, R-Kailua
*Alex Sonson, D-Pearl City
*Bud Stonebraker, R-Hawaii Kai
*Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo, D-Ewa
*Cynthia Thielen, R-Kailua
*Tommy Waters, D-Waimanalo

”’To reach legislators, see:”’ “Representatives at a Glance” and “Senators at a Glance”

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