Political Tittle-tattle: News and Entertainment from Hawaii's Political Arena – April 3, 2003 -200+ Subpoenas Issued in Harris Investigation; Senate Ways and Means is Tax and Fee Happy; Hawaii May See Largest Tax Increase Ever; GayHawaii.com Liberal Gays Rail Against Rep. Bud Stonebraker; Gutting Games

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”200+ Subpoenas Issued in Harris Investigation”


Honolulu city prosecutors issued more than 200 subpoenas over the last few weeks to individuals they want to question in connection with the investigation into the campaign and administration of Honolulu Major Jeremy Harris.

The majority of the subpoenas went to those in the construction industry, including engineers, architects and contractors, who contributed the maximum amount of $6,000 to Harris’ 2000 campaign for governor.

Local and federal law enforcement agencies are looking at the connection between campaign contributions to the Harris campaign and the procurement of city contracts.

The state Campaign Spending Commission also continues to issue subpoenas related to this investigation. More than 100 construction-related firms are being interviewed about the alleged pro-quo.

Some of these companies have signed conciliatory agreements with the state Campaign Spending Commission admitting they funneled money to friends, family and employees to reimburse them for political campaign contributions they made to the mayor’s campaign.

In addition to targeting construction-related firms, companies that made contributions to the mayor’s campaign, allegedly in exchange for quick or special permitting, also are under investigation.

”Senate Ways and Means is Tax and Fee Happy”

The Senate Ways & Means committee met yesterday to consider a series of tax and fee increase proposals.

One proposal that passed, HB 1182, provided appropriations for emergency services by raising the motor vehicle registration fee and creating a special fund to hold the monies. The “nexus” essentially was cars cause accidents, so drivers should pay for the emergency services, which included ambulances, helicopters and emergency rooms in rural areas.

Another tax increase proposal came in HB 510, which Senate Democrats gutted and replaced with language that raised general excise taxes from 4 percent to 4.5 percent, a 12.5 percent increase. The House so far has not approve this tax hike, so instead, Senate chairs gutted one of the House’s approved bills, and inserted language that brought the proposal back to life in the Senate. The Senate earlier passed over to the House a bill to raise the taxes to 4.5 percent, but the House did not hear it.

Another tax bill allows the City & County additional taxing powers and creates a sales tax in addition to the state’s general excise tax.

”Hawaii May See Largest Tax Increase Ever”

Lowell Kalapa, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, says the Legislature is proposing the largest-ever tax increase through a series of three new tax proposals for a total of $400 million annually.

Those include the proposal to tax every citizen between the ages of 25 and 99 a $10 per month tax (goes up to $25 per month) to pay for long-term care for those citizens who did not save money for such a purpose.

The poor in Hawaii already have their long-term care paid for by the federal government, but Democrats want to subsidize the care of the other more wealthy who have not chosen to save for long-term care.

The other taxes are the general excise tax hike of 12.5 percent and the county sales tax.

The governor plans to veto all of the tax increase bills except for the county sales tax proposal. However, Senate and House Democrats already are planning a veto override.

The public against such tax proposals should write to their legislators, especially House and Senate finance chairs.

”GayHawaii.com Liberal Gays Rail Against Rep. Bud Stonebraker”

State Rep. Bud Stonebraker, R-Hawaii Kai is the new HawaiiReporter.com candidate for Hero or Scoundrel