for Immediate Release
February 6, 2002
Contact: Rep. Michael P. Kahikina
HOUSE DEMOCRATS PROPOSE TAX AMNESTY
State Rep. Michael P. Kahikina (D - Maili, Nanakuli, Waianae) today said the House Finance Committee has agreed to look at a measure that would forgive delinquent taxpayers who make good on their back taxes next year. Even if only 50 percent successful, Kahikina said the State would realize an infusion of over $125 million to the general treasury.
House Bill 2381 has been scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday, February 7, beginning at 3:30 p.m. in Capitol Conference Room 308. The bill would create a one-time tax amnesty period beginning on January 1 through July 31, 2003. Kahikina said the House proposal encourages people to voluntarily step forward and pay their overdue taxes in exchange for forgiveness of any penalties due. He added that the self-initiative feature distinguishes the House's proposal from the State Senate's approach, which calls for hiring additional staff to aggressively pursue taxpayers in arrears.
"This is an achievable, realistic idea offered by House Democrats to address the budget shortfall," Kahikina said. "It's straightforward, costs next to nothing to implement, and doesn't put essential State services at risk in order to be successful."
The State Tax Department estimates that as of October 31, 2001, the State was owed nearly $255 million in unpaid taxes. Kahikina said that does not include amounts from the Neighbor Islands for November and December.