[§21F-1] Purpose. The legislature finds that most states have a separate fiscal policy office in the legislative branch that works effectively to provide the legislature with necessary revenue and expenditure data and analyses from which economic and fiscal policies are developed. In Hawaii, the legislature relies on the economic and fiscal analyses of the executive branch and private sector. The legislature believes that this dependency creates an inherent conflict of interest that precludes the legislature from operating independently.
Modern legislatures have become sophisticated data gatherers and analysts, on par with the executive and judiciary branches. Over the last five years, this shift has been accelerated through the development of professional, highly specialized legislative staff.
Since Hawaii's legislature meets for only four months of the year, it has come to rely heavily on the use of session-only legislative staff or employees on loan from the executive branch. In 1988, the state house and senate together employed six hundred twenty-one session staff members as compared to one hundred fifty-one permanent employees. Only New York, the state with the most legislative staff in the country, had more session staff than Hawaii.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish a permanent legislative committee to provide the legislature with information, facts, and analyses concerning fiscal, budgetary, and tax matters of the State. It is the legislature's intent that the committee, with the assistance of the office of the legislative analyst, shall perform independent, in-depth analysis of the State's budget, revenues and expenditures, economic conditions, and tax policies. [L 1990, c 347, pt of §2]