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Proposed Amicus Brief to Supreme Court of Hawaii

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Dear Friends,

We are asking for your support in a case that is soon to be filed in the Supreme Court of Hawaii seeking invalidation of the ballot measure seeking to allow the Legislature to impose real property tax on investment property to support public education.  The question on the ballot is, “Shall the legislature be authorized to establish, as provided by law, a surcharge on investment real property to be used to support public education?” and we are concerned that it is misleading or deceptive because it doesn’t mention anything about the new tax that would result.

You may have seen in the news that the four counties filed a lawsuit against various State officials seeking to remedy this problem.  The Foundation filed a brief in support of the counties’ positions limited to the issue of whether the ballot question was misleading.  (The counties also made other arguments.)  The counties moved for a preliminary injunction, which Circuit Judge Crabtree denied on Friday, Sept. 7.

The counties aren’t giving up yet.  They plan to bring the matter before the Hawaii Supreme Court.  We don’t know exactly how, but are assuming they will ask the Supreme Court for an “extraordinary writ” invalidating the ballot measure.  Because such writs are often asked for but rarely granted, we thought it would be useful for the community to demonstrate that the matter is of great public significance by filing an amicus, or “friend of the court,” brief.

We at the Foundation already have drafted the brief, and have attached this draft for your consideration, anticipating that things will move very quickly.  We expect the counties to file their petition this week, and we would like to lodge our brief immediately thereafter.  The caption, case number, etc. in the draft will be changed to conform to what the counties actually file.

If your organization is interested in weighing in on this issue and is in support of the position the Foundation has taken in this brief, we would be glad to add your name to this brief.  What I will need from you is a “Statement of Interest,” with the name of the person who is acting for your organization.  This statement, with the name and address of the organization and the name of its authorizing person, will be added to the Appendix to the brief, which now contains only the Foundation’s information.  I have also attached a brief filed in the Supreme Court of the United States, prepared by the NFIB Small Business Legal Center, that illustrates how this is done.  Please send [email protected] an email with a Statement of Interest and confirmation that you would like to participate in our brief.

Thank you very much for your consideration of this matter.

20180910 Tax Foundation M Lv File Amicus


Follow Tom Yamachika:
President of the Foundation.

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