FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2002
Contact: Senator Fred Hemmings
SENATE REPUBLICANS: HAWAII'S SENIORS BEING MISLED ON PROPOSED LONG-TERM CARE LEGISLATION
HONOLULU—Senate Floor Leader Fred Hemmings (District 25, Kailua-Waimanalo) today warned of the pitfalls of the long-term care tax currently under consideration by the state Legislature.
"We understand and are concerned with the important issue of long term care for our seniors. A government-run program is not the answer, " Hemmings said. "Our research shows that private long-term care insurance is affordable and readily available. It is inappropriate and inexcusable to misrepresent facts on an issue so important to Hawaii's seniors," Hemmings added.
Private policies that pay immediate benefits and cover double the amount of time are readily available for $25 a month. This state-run monopoly program proposes that a senior citizen pay the tax, but not receive full benefits for 10 years and then be required to pay taxes on those benefits according to federal law.
"This proposal is a regressive tax hurting the poor, the elderly, and the middle income working class," Senate Minority Policy Leader Bob Hogue (District 24 Kaneohe-Enchanted Lake) said.
Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom (District 8 Hawaii Kai-Aina Haina) served for two years on a bipartisan long-term care legislative advisory committee.
"The objective of this committee was to discover objective, viable, cost-effective private market solutions to long-term care. The committee found and identified numerous private market solutions. But, this effort undermines that objective approach to pursue a purely political state taxation mandate, " Slom said.