Why we joined the ‘surcharge’ lawsuit | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Why we joined the ‘surcharge’ lawsuit

Shakespeare said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet — proof that he wasn’t a lawyer … or a politician. Either of them would tell you that a “surcharge” smells a lot better to voters than a “tax.”

And that’s one of the problems with the ballot measure to raise taxes for public education.

The actual wording of the proposal that goes before Hawaii voters Nov. 6 is, “Shall the legislature be authorized to establish, as provided by law, a surcharge on investment real property to be used to support public education?”

You’ll notice that not only does it not define the term “investment real property” or what precisely will be funded in public education, but it also doesn’t use the word “tax.”

That may seem like a little thing, but consider if the question was worded more accurately: “Shall the legislature be given a new constitutional power to raise taxes on real property for state use?”

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