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Attorney General Says Rail Tax Grab Is Fine

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On September 8, 2015, the Attorney General of Hawaii issued Opinion No. 15-1 to Sen. Sam Slom relating to the State’s deduction of 10% of the gross proceeds of the county surcharge, for “administrative costs.”  The actual opinion is attached.  The meat of it is in the questions presented, short answers, and conclusion.

  1. Questions Presented.
    1. Does the deduction violate the Hawaii Constitution?
    2. Does the retention by the State of the difference between the ten percent retained by the State and the actual costs of administering the county surcharge violate the Equal Protection or Due Process Clauses of the United States Constitution?
  2. Short Answers.
    1. The deduction of the ten percent of the county  surcharge does not violate the Hawaii Constitution.
    2. The retention by the State of the difference between the ten percent retained by the State and the actual costs of administering the county surcharge does not violate either the Equal Protection or the Due Process Clauses of the United States Constitution.

Conclusion.

The ten percent of the county surcharge retained by the State pursuant to section 248-2.6(a), HRS, – including amounts, if any, that exceed the actual amount to reimburse the State for the costs of assessment, collection, and disposition of the county surcharge on state tax incurred by the State – are proper general fund realizations.  Furthermore, the State’s retention of these amounts is consistent with a plain reading of the statute, consistent with legislative intent, and does not offend the equal protection and due process clauses of the state or federal constitutions.

 

The full opinion is here:  Op.-No.-15-1

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    But check this out: Do You Recognize a Tax When You See It? by Lowell Kalapa, 2008

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