House and Senate Republican Minority Release 2004 Legislative Package

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”’Editor’s note: This is the 2004 legislative package released by the Hawaii House of Representatives Minority Republican Caucus. The Caucus says it also endorses legislation put forward by Gov. Linda Lingle and the Senate minority.”’

”Create Jobs”


The House Republican Caucus has crafted legislation that entrusts the people of Hawaii with their own money. By taking money out of the state bureaucracy and placing it in the hands of Hawaii’s people, our economy will grow with accelerated business enterprise and real job creation. This will provide financial stability for many years to come. How will this be accomplished?

*Pass a constitutional amendment to limit tax increases.

*Require fiscal notes on all spending legislation to show how much each bill costs.

*Make Long Term Care affordable through tax credits.

*Remove the GET on food, medical services, and housing.

*Provide a tax credit for food for low-income families.

*Provide a Medicare/Medicaid GET exclusion for the elderly.

*Increase the state tax standard deduction to 50% of the federal standard deduction.

*Create a month-long GET retail tax holiday.

*Reduce the cost and increase coverage of the Prepaid Health Care Act.

*Return unadjudicated traffic fines to the counties.

”Fix Education”

Restructuring education is hard work. Over the past years, we have seen our schools struggle to keep up with maintenance and necessary repairs as student scores fail to make gains. By decentralizing the DOE, giving control to and expecting accountability from Local School Boards, we can assure that the money gets to the classroom. We need to return money and decision making to teachers and principals who personally know the students they work with. How will this be accomplished?

*Support Governor’s CARE proposals.

*Support a constitutional amendment that allows citizens to decide on the issue of locally elected school boards.

*Give teachers the tools they need to keep order and discipline in their classrooms through a Teacher’s Bill of Rights.

*Support homeschooling by providing home school students the right to participate in extracurricular activities in public schools .

*Support charter schools through equitable funding.

”Fight Crime”

The House Republican Caucus has crafted legislation that will protect Hawaii’s people from criminals. We are determined to support tough-on-crime legislation now more than ever, as property and violent crimes are at epidemic levels. We must protect the people of our islands by keeping Hawaii safe. We must give law enforcement the tools they need to protect Hawaii citizens. How will this be accomplished?

*Amend Act 161 so that felons and drug dealers will not have a “get out of jail free card.”

*Stop the sale of drug paraphernalia.

*Bring Hawaii’s search and seizure practices, “walk and talk” and “knock and talk,” in line with the Federal Code, thus giving local law enforcement the tools they need to fight crime.

*Amend the State Constitution so that Megan’s Law is once again operational.

*Enact the Information Filing measure approved by the people in 2002.

*Direct a portion of the alcohol tax to fund drug addiction counselors and education in our middle and high schools.

*Direct money from the Tobacco Settlement Special Fund (TSSF) to fund additional after-school programs.

”’Editor’s note: This is the 2004 legislative package released by the Hawaii State Senate Minority Republican Caucus. The Caucus says it also endorses legislation put forward by Gov. Linda Lingle and shares some similar legislation with the Republicans in the House.”’

*”Jones Act; Exemption Requests Congress to Exempt Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, and Puerto Rico from the Jones Act.” The Jones Act (P. L. 66- 261), also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, requires that all goods transported by water between U. S. ports be carried on U. S.- flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U. S. citizens, and crewed wholly by U. S. citizens. The Jones Act prevents foreign cruise ships from transporting passengers between U. S. ports and restricts access to U. S. rivers and canals. Allowing this exemption in the federal law would end the current monopoly on shipping between Hawaii and the Mainland. The total of Jones Act shipping charges for Hawaii is about $750 million annually. If this were reduced by only a third, it would save Hawaii consumers $250 million, or $870 for a family of four.

*”Passenger Services Act; Repeal” Requests Congress to Repeal the Passenger Services Act. The federal Passenger Services Act (PSA) of 1886 prohibits a foreign-owned vessel from picking up passengers at one American port and dropping them at another. The PSA was initially enacted to protect the interests of United States shipbuilders and also to protect a United State merchant marine fleet in the event of war. Advances in technology have made the defense justification no longer applicable. The repeal of the PSA would mean foreign cruise ships would no longer be restricted from making transpacific cruises, thus significantly boosting Hawaii’s cruise industry. According to the Cruise America Coalition, repealing the PSA could be worth an additional $1 billion to the coastal communities of the United States.

*”SB SB 416 GET; Exemption Eliminates the 4.16 percent tax on food purchases and medical services.” Does not apply to restaurants or prescription drugs. $182 million: $100 million from food and $82 million from medical services; Carryover Measure; Current Referral is WAM

*”SB SB 1398 Income Tax; Standard Deductions.” Raises state standard deductions to about half the federal level. Raises joint standard deduction from $1900 to $4200 over three years. Raises head of household standard deduction from $1650 to $3700 over three years. Raises single standard deduction from $1500 to $2500 over three years. Year 1: $10 million; Year 2 $15 million; $20 million in subsequent years. Carryover Measure; Current Referral is WAM

*”Gas Cap; Repeal Repeals Act 77, Session Laws of Hawaii, 2002, commonly referred to as the gasoline price cap.” The gas cap is detrimental to the business climate in Hawaii, thus perpetuating the stereotype that Hawaii is an unfriendly place to do business. Experts in the August 2003 Stillwater Report have said that price caps would not have any significant benefit for Hawaii’s consumers. According to the report, the price cap would increase consumer costs. The Federal Trade Commission in its testimony before the Hawaii State Legislature in January 2003 stated, “Historical experience demonstrates that price controls tend to create shortages, reduce quality, and generate other inefficiencies.”

*”Divorcement; Repeal Repeals the gasoline divorcement law, which imposes restrictions and manufacturers and jobbers (i. e. wholesaler of petroleum products) in operating service stations and imposing lease rent controls.” The most comprehensive of the published economic studies, conducted independently by a senior economist with the United States Federal Trade Commission found that Hawaii’s divorcement and anti- encroachment laws tend to increase retail prices by an average of 2.6 cents per gallon. The current regulations under the divorcement law are ineffective in protecting dealers from competition by wholesale suppliers in lucrative locations. Nevada’s 16-year-old divorcement law was recently amended to start allowing refiners to operate their stations again. In Maryland, the Department of Fiscal Services found that gas prices went up as a result of divorcement.

*”Special Education; Scholarship Program.” Creates a new subpart in HRS 302A that establishes a scholarship to a private school of choice for students K- 12 with disabilities, provided that an individual education plan has been written for the aforementioned student. Allows a parent of a public school student with a disability who is dissatisfied with the student’s progress to request and receive a scholarship for the child to enroll in and attend a private school provided that (1) the student had spent the prior school year at a public school, (2) the parent has obtained acceptance for admission of the student to a private school that is eligible for the scholarship program, and (3) the parent has notified the superintendent of the request for a scholarship (via written or electronic record) at least 60 days prior to the date of the first scholarship payment. Provides that the maximum scholarship for an eligible student will be a calculated amount equal to the per pupil allocation found in the new century charter schools funding (