Submit HB 209 Testimony for Hearing on Wed., Mar. 22 at 9:30am
Testimony is due 24 hours before hearing (but late testimony is better than no testimony)

HB 209 is one of two HI Tax Fairness priority bills. It is a complete tax fairness package that does the following:

  • updates the Food and Renters’ Credits to catch up with inflation
  • creates a Working Family Credit to help people work their way out of poverty
  • increases tax rates on our highest-income earners in line with what they’ve paid in previous years so the bill doesn’t impact the state budget

Please submit testimony by completing the form below. The from includes pre-filled testimony, which you can use as is. However, deleting the pre-filled testimony and submitting even just three or four sentences in your own words can be even more powerful if you have the time. See the sidebar for ideas on how you might want to personalize your testimony.

Two things to highlight:

  • HB 209 as currently written does not include an automatic inflation adjustment for the Food or Renters’ credits, so we are requesting an amendment to HB 209 to provide for this automatic adjustment (this request is included in the pre-filled testimony). We don’t want to be in the same situation we are currently in of needing to request an inflation update five years from now–or 35 years in the case Renters’ Credit, which hasn’t been updated since 1981.
  • We are asking for tax credits rather than eliminating the lower tax brackets because refundable credits offer more targeted tax relief to those that need it the most. Every time someone pays for groceries or their rent, they get taxed through the General Excise Tax (GET). Even eliminating income taxes entirely on a low-income family won’t return to them a portion of the money they paid on GET–only refundable credits like the Food, Renters’ and Working Family credits can accomplish that.

Your submitted testimony will look like this:

 

TO: Senate Committee on Ways and Means
HEARING: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 9:30 am
PLACE: Conference Room 211
FROM: [Your Name]
RE: Testimony Supporting HB 209
ATTENDING HEARING: [Yes or No]

[Your Testimony]

Testimony Ideas

  • If you currently benefit, or have ever benefited from any of these credits (including the federal Earned Income Tax Credit), describe how they have helped you. Did they help you keep the lights on, pay the rent, or feed your family? Did they allow you to stay in school instead of taking a dead-end job? Did they help your family when you were growing up so you now have a stable secure future?
  • If you are a high-income earner that might pay more under this proposal, say why you are willing to do so. Is it because you want to provide a stronger future for Hawaii’s children? You want to create a stronger, thriving economy? You want to encourage work through a Working Family Credit?
  • If you know anyone who has, or might benefit from any of these credits, tell that story.
  • For more ideas on why to support all the components of this proposal, click here.