Monday, June 17, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, May 15, 2022
More Bills in the Home Stretch
By Tom Yamachika @ 6:00 AM :: 2037 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Law Enforcement, Taxes

More Bills in the Home Stretch

by Tom Yamachika, President, Tax Foundation Hawaii

In last week’s column we started a list of bills that the Hawaii Legislature has passed up to the Governor for action.  Here’s a list of some of the eyebrow-raising bills that have gone to the fifth floor.

Senate Bill 3040 is a bill sponsored by the Department of Accounting and General Services, which handles a lot of the purchasing for the State.  It wants to build an automated procurement system that is electronic, accounting-oriented, multi-module, and data-based that integrates procurement activities from solicitation to contract management.  So far, so good; such a system sounds way better than the manually intensive processes we have now.  But part of the bill requires the procurement office to collect a transaction fee for the use of the procurement automation systems to cover the costs.  Which seems to mean that if I am selling something to the State and I want to get paid, I need to pay the State for the privilege of getting paid.  Even better, if I want to put in a bid so that the State might buy my products or services, I need to shell out a few bucks for the privilege of offering my wares, whether or not they get purchased.  Excuse me, but we already tax the businesses who are selling things to the State.  This bill, it seems, will raise the costs of things that the State purchases even more.

House Bill 2179, sponsored by the Department of Taxation, allows the Department to convert tax liens to civil judgments if 365 days pass from the date of recording with no response or action by the taxpayer.  Why do they want to do this?  Recall that back in 2009, lawmakers adopted a 15-year statute of limitations for the collection of taxes, meaning that if you owe back taxes and the Department hasn’t managed to beat the money out of you in 15 years, the Department can stop searching for your money and leave you alone.  (The comparable period for federal taxes is ten years.)  But if this bill becomes law, a tax lien can be converted to a civil judgment just before the 15th year expires.  Civil judgments have their own life of ten years and can be extended for another ten years.  Meaning that the Department can do an end run around the 15-year statute of limitations and keep going after a hapless taxpayer for up to 35 years!  Unless, of course, the taxpayer takes “action” or makes a “response,” with neither term defined in the law.

House Bill 137, another 2021 bill that got dusted off this session, deals with the county liquor commission and its powers to investigate liquor licensees.  There’s a State tax on liquor sales, and current law says that if a liquor commission investigator finds out that liquor tax hasn't been paid the investigator can rat out the licensee to the Department of Taxation.  Under the bill, that will no longer be legal and the Department of Taxation will need to use its own investigative resources to root out liquor tax scofflaws.  I wonder if that means the Department of Taxation will need to be sending investigators to the local bars and buying drinks, at taxpayer expense, “to figure out whether they’re paying their taxes.”  In any event, it seems a waste to send law enforcement investigators in and prevent them from reporting any observed violations to another law enforcement agency.

And, last but not least, Senate Bill 2379 allows the Department of Taxation’s Special Enforcement Section to examine any sector of the state’s economy, initiate civil investigations, and use enforcement and education to deter taxpayer noncompliance.  These are tasks entrusted to the Department generally, so why call them out specifically for this one piece of the Department?  The answer is money, of course.  The Special Enforcement Section can spend money in the Tax Administration Special (slush) Fund, which we have written about before.  That fund, which is fed by certain tax collections and fines, became a cash cow for the Department, so much so that the Legislature raided $15 million from the fund last session.  The Department, like many of the other state departments, apparently feels that it is entitled to grab some of the tax collections and use them for itself before the Legislature and the other departments get their grubby mitts on that moola.  This is a trend in government behavior that we should be reversing, not fostering.

Again, June 27 is the next magic date – that’s when the Governor has to announce his “intent to veto” list.


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


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


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

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


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

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii