TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2018
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
PROPOSING AMENDMENTS TO ARTICLES VIII AND X OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF HAWAII TO AUTHORIZE THE LEGISLATURE TO ESTABLISH A SURCHARGE TO INCREASE FUNDING FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that article X, section 1, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii requires the State to provide a system of public education. Compared to other states, Hawaii is unique because the State, rather than a county or local level jurisdiction, is responsible for public education. As a result, funding for public education in Hawaii is primarily sourced from the general fund of the State.
The legislature further finds that public education in Hawaii is not adequately funded. According to an analysis of real property tax in Hawaii performed by the department of business, economic development, and tourism in 2017, Hawaii's education expenditures, as a share of combined state and local government expenditures, is 27.3 per cent and ranks lowest in the nation. At $12,855 per child, Hawaii trails mainland school districts of similar size when adjusting for cost of living. Lagging state education expenditures drive Hawaii families to compete for private school enrollment, leaving Hawaii with one of the highest rates of private school enrollment in the nation, according to the United States Census Bureau.
The legislature additionally finds that the United States Department of Education currently considers over seventy per cent of Hawaii's public schools to be Title I schools. A majority of public school students are now considered "high-needs" students, meaning that the student qualifies for free or reduced price lunch, is an English language learner, or is a special education student. Hawaii public school facilities average sixty-one years in age, with the average school building over forty-four years old and fifty-three buildings being over one hundred years in age. Hawaii ranks fifty-first out of fifty states and the District of Columbia in starting and median teacher salaries adjusted for cost of living, according to a 2016 study performed by WalletHub.com.
The legislature also finds that chronic underfunding of public schools undermines the State's goal of providing a quality education to all of Hawaii's children. Insufficient education funding results in delayed repairs to school facilities; overheated classrooms, higher class sizes, a lack of adequate classroom supplies, elimination of arts and career and technical education courses, budget cuts for special education and English language learner programs, and an increasing number of vacant teacher positions statewide. It is necessary to develop a new means of funding Hawaii's public education system to ensure that the State will be able to prepare children to meet the social and economic demands of the twenty-first century.
The purpose of this Act is to propose amendments to the Constitution of the State of Hawaii to advance the State's goal of providing a quality education for the children of Hawaii by authorizing the legislature to establish a surcharge on residential investment property and visitor accommodations.
SECTION 2. Article VIII, section 3, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii is amended to read as follows:
"TAXATION AND FINANCE
3. The taxing power shall be
reserved to the State, except so much thereof as may be delegated by the
legislature to the political subdivisions, and except that all functions,
powers and duties relating to the taxation of real property shall be exercised
exclusively by the counties, with the exception of the county of Kalawao[
provided that the legislature shall not be prohibited from establishing a
surcharge on residential investment property pursuant to Article X,
Section 1. The legislature shall
have the power to apportion state revenues among the several political
SECTION 3. Article X, section 1, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii is amended to read as follows:
Section 1. The State shall provide for the establishment, support and control of a statewide system of public schools free from sectarian control, a state university, public libraries and such other educational institutions as may be deemed desirable, including physical facilities therefor. There shall be no discrimination in public educational institutions because of race, religion, sex or ancestry; nor shall public funds be appropriated for the support or benefit of any sectarian or nonsectarian private educational institution, except that proceeds of special purpose revenue bonds authorized or issued under section 12 of Article VII may be appropriated to finance or assist:
1. Not-for-profit corporations that provide early childhood education and care facilities serving the general public; and
2. Not-for-profit private nonsectarian and sectarian elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities.
The legislature may establish a surcharge on visitor accommodations and on residential investment property valued at one million dollars or more for which the owner does not qualify for a homeowner's exemption, as provided by law, to fund public education for Hawaii's children. Proceeds from the surcharge may be used for recruitment and retention of teachers, public preschools, reduction in class sizes, special education programming, career and technical education, art, music, Hawaiian studies, Hawaiian language instruction, afterschool programs, and such programs and projects as the legislature may authorize by law."
SECTION 4. The question to be printed on the ballot shall be as follows:
"Shall the legislature be authorized to establish a surcharge on visitor accommodations and on residential investment property, excluding a home that qualifies for a homeowner's exemption, valued at one million dollars or more to fund public education for Hawaii's children, as provided by law?"
SECTION 5. Constitutional material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New constitutional material is underscored.
SECTION 6. This amendment shall take effect upon compliance with article XVII, section 3, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii.
Public Education; Residential Investment Property; Visitor Accommodations; Surcharge; Constitutional Amendment
Proposes amendments to the Constitution of the State of Hawaii to advance the State's goal of providing a quality education for the children of Hawaii by authorizing the legislature to establish, as provided by law, a surcharge on visitor accommodations and on residential investment property. (SD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.