True it would have only affected high-income earners (above $100,000 for individual filers), but we were all afraid that the income level would slide downward when the State needed more money. If the AGI went down to $37,500 it would indeed have been a cruel tax.
All during this session I received a steady stream of letters, phone calls and e mails. I was stopped several times in neighborhood markets and shopping centers.
None of the communications were form letters, but individual pleas reminding me that retirees could not afford to lose more income to taxes. There were several that reminded me that the Governor and legislators should keep their hands off of our pensions. Many were incensed that they had worked for decades with the expectation that their pension would be tax-free and felt that the rug was now being pulled out from under them.
Other legislators must have received similar communications that amounted to a focused message. Though they were not a big powerful lobby, their sincere cards, letters and admonitions did the trick – it killed the pension tax. Congratulations to these senior citizens and AARP. Retirees have won the day.
Barbara Marumoto is a Republican representing Kaimuki and Kahala in the Hawaii House of Representatives.