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Hawaii Tax Rebates Amendment, Question 2 (2010)

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Hawaii Constitution
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The Hawaii Tax Rebates Amendment, Question 2 appeared on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in Hawaii as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment where it was approved.

The measure called for giving the legislature discretion to issue rebates when the state ran a surplus and allowed for redirecting funds to a reserve fund.[1]

The state constitution at the time of the election required that excess funds be returned to taxpayers, however, the measure called for redirecting those funds to a reserve fund.[2] In 2010 taxpayers received a $1 tax credit in light of a previous surplus despite facing a statewide budget shortfall for 2010.[1]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Question 2 (Tax Rebates)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 227,457 59.0%
No122,67231.8%

Official results via Hawaii Office of Elections.

Text of measure

The measure read:

"Shall the legislature be provided with the choice, when the state general fund balance at the close of each of two successive fiscal years exceeds five per cent of the general fund revenues for each of the two fiscal years, to provide a tax refund or tax credit to the taxpayers of the State, or to make a deposit into one or more funds, as provided by law, which shall serve as temporary supplemental sources of funding for the State in times of an emergency, economic downturn, or unforeseen reduction in revenue?"[3]

Constitutional changes

"DISPOSITION OF EXCESS REVENUES Section 6. Whenever the state general fund balance at the close of each of two successive fiscal years exceeds five percent of general fund revenues for each of the two fiscal years, the legislature in the next regular session shall provide for a tax refund or tax credit to the taxpayers of the State, or make a deposit into one or more funds, as provided by law, which shall serve as temporary supplemental sources of funding for the State in times of an emergency, economic downturn, or unforeseen reduction in revenue, as provided by law."[3]

Other perspectives

According to the National Taxpayer’s Union, "The Hawaii Tax Rebates Amendment on the statewide ballot would amend the Constitution to give the Legislature discretion to direct excess tax revenue into a reserve fund. Currently, the State Constitution requires excess funds to be returned to taxpayers. While a reserve fund is a worthwhile protection from economic fluctuations, the state should restructure its budget to finance it from existing revenues rather than threatening tax rebates."[4]

Path to the ballot

See also: Hawaii legislatively-referred constitutional amendments

In Hawaii, the state legislature is required to approve a proposed amendment by a supermajority vote or 2/3rds but the same amendment could also qualify for the ballot if successive sessions of the Hawaii State Legislature approve it by a simple majority.

On April 16, 2010 the proposed amendment cleared both the House and the Senate; moving the measure to the 2010 ballot.[1] The measure passed the full legislature on April 27.[5]

See also

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