Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, July 5, 2020
​Damn the Tax Clearances, Full Speed Ahead!
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3337 Views :: Ethics, Taxes, COVID-19

Damn the Tax Clearances, Full Speed Ahead!

by Tom Yamachika, President, Tax Foundation Hawaii

Several articles in this space have been about features in Governor Ige’s emergency proclamations. We are now on the tenth one and counting, which makes us wonder about the 60-day limit written into the emergency powers statutes (see HRS section 127A-14(d)), but that issue may be sorted out in lawsuits that were recently filed.

We have previously written that the list of laws suspended by the proclamations is 20 pages long. This proclamation is no exception, with the list of suspended laws beginning on page 11 and ending on page 31.

On this 20-page list are two lines suspending HRS section 103-53, relating to tax clearances.

That law provides (more correctly, used to provide) that people who want to do business with the State of Hawaii or municipal governments in it need to be current with their state and federal taxes. A business that wants to bid on a government project, or that is seeking final payment on a government project it worked on, needs a piece of paper from the Department of Taxation saying that it has filed all the state and federal tax returns it needs to file, and has paid the taxes shown on those returns. There are exceptions provided: permission to bid or to receive final payment can be granted if the taxpayer is fighting with the Department about whether it indeed owes tax, or if the taxpayer is current on a payment plan that both the taxpayer and the Department have agreed to.

So, could someone tell me the thinking behind why this requirement needs to be suspended? COVID-19 upended our tourism economy and state tax revenues have fallen into the toilet. Don’t we need to make sure that the taxpayer dollars we are spending are spent with vendors who have done their part to keep our government going?

The emergency powers statute, HRS section 127A-13(a), allows for suspension of “any law that impedes or tends to impede or be detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of, or to conflict with, emergency functions,” and allows the Governor to “[r]elieve hardships and inequities, or obstructions to the public health, safety, or welfare, found by the governor to exist in the laws and to result from the operation of federal programs or measures taken under this chapter, by suspending the laws, in whole or in part.” Does suspending the tax clearance requirement on a categorical basis satisfy any of those legal requirements?

We previously wrote that the Governor tinkered with the tax code in the proclamations by shutting off distribution to the counties of what little transient accommodations tax revenues we have left. So, doing a money grab was fine under emergency powers. But we are allowing vendors to the State to do business and be paid without making sure they pay their taxes? Is that even a consistent philosophy?

Again, we are not talking about people who owe taxes and legitimately can’t pay them, because of our economic collapse or otherwise. They can get forbearances or payment plans from the Department and still be qualified to bid on or receive State contracts. The same is true with people who have a genuine dispute with the Department over whether they legally owe tax. So, who does this law suspension benefit? Was this suspension really thought through?

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii