The voters of Hawaii deserve a big ”’attaboy”’ for putting into office a governor who has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Further, in the state House of Representatives, 25 percent have signed and in the Senate, 24 percent are committed. In addition, 22 percent of the Honolulu City Councils are pledged. What an impressive job those voters did last November.

Last year at this time we had 6 percent of the Senate and 12 percent of the House signed. None of the Honolulu City Council had signed. The governor, of course, was not on board.

The Taxpayer Protection Pledge was developed by the Americans for Tax Reform in Washington, D.C. They keep a score card on their Web site so we can see how we rank with other states.

In the House, we were on Feb. 28, 2003 the fifth highest in the nation. In the Senate, we ranked 9th. For us to get to first in both houses would take five more in the Senate and nine more in the House.

The Taxpayer Protection Pledge essentially says that the signer will not institute or vote for any new taxes. Basically, the pledge is a recognition on the part of the lawmaker that your earnings are yours and do not belong to the government.

It seems safe to conclude that those who refuse to sign harbor the notion that your earnings are theirs to distribute. And, by the way, all state legislators and all Honolulu City Council members have been asked by Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, most more than once, to sign the pledge.

In January, ATR announced the formation of the “Taxpayer Protection Caucus” for the Hawaii Legislature. Heading up the caucus is Sen. Sam Slom of District 8 and Rep. Lynn Finnegan of District 32.

Grover Norquist, president of ATR, said: “Protecting taxpayers should be the first priority of any legislator elected to a state Legislature. Sen. Slom and Rep. Finnegan have shown bold leadership in fighting tax hikes in Hawaii, and taxpayers across the state owe them a debt of gratitude.”

The following legislators have signed the pledge:

”House of Representatives:”

*Mark Jernigan
*Bertha Kawakami
*Bud StoneBraker
*Barbara Marumoto
*Galen Fox
*Lynn Finnegan
*Bertha Leong
*Guy Ontai
*David Pendleton
*Cynthia Thielen
*Mark Moses
*Colleen Meyer
*Corinne Ching

”Senate:”

*Fred Hemmings
*Cal Kawamoto
*Sam Slom
*Gordon Trimble
*Bob Hogue
*David Ige

”Honolulu City Council:”

*Charles Djou
*Rod Tam

The caucus will seek to provide a single voice on tax issues among pro-taxpayer legislators. For many, it is difficult to be a stand-alone Pledge signer. The caucus will create an entire body of legislators that believe in the same principle

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