A (Calvin) Say In Surplus Spending

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - January 25, 2006

Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives Calvin Say - remember this name.

It seems he, and he alone, believes the enormous budget surplus the state enjoys is all his: your toil, your sacrifice, your money. Say is summarily thumbing his nose at you while declaring, “Let them eat cake.” Actually, it’s more like, “Let them eat manapua,” but you get the idea.

The audacity of his statements at the opening day of the legislative session last week were nothing less than elitist. Although the other three legislative leaders acknowledged the nearly $570 million surplus should be used to provide tax relief to taxpayers, Say scoffed at such a notion. Referring to Gov. Linda Lingle’s proposition to return at least $300 million to taxpayers, Say ridiculed the potential refunds as, “plate lunch money.” He said, “Cutting taxes is an easy thing to do, and maybe at the end of the day that’s what we will decide to do. Three hundred million dollars is a lot of money, but when you add up your share of the refund, what do you get?” Enough to buy another loco-moco every week or another plate.”

It must be nice to sit back in leather-bound chairs as an elected official and look below to the teeming masses of the bourgeoisie. The rarefied air that leaders like Say breathe is different from the noxious fumes you and I consume. To deign what is enough money and how we would use it if given the opportunity is right out of the Central Committee’s playbook. All hail to Comrade Say!

The Democrat-controlled state government has punitively assessed the families of Hawaii for decades. As recently as the early 1990s, it was the Democratic administration of Gov. John Waihee that turned a $600 million surplus into a $350 million deficit. Gov. Ben Cayetano’s State of the State speech in January of 1995 was one of the most depressing pieces of news ever delivered by an elected official: deficits, layoffs, cutbacks. The financial mess created by a Democratic administration and Democratic Legislature was dizzying. But people forget it was the Waihee/Cayetano administration. This should not have been such a news flash to the new governor. Nonetheless, he was the new captain of a sinking ship.

The following year, the state was so desperate for revenue it did the unthinkable. The Democrat-controlled Legislature, along with the Cayetano administration, eliminated tax credits on food, housing and medication extended to the neediest in our community. One of the most basic financial exemptions for the poor was eliminated by the majority party, subsequently promoted as “The Party of Heart.”

This was more than a decade ago. The majority party has been intransigent in reinstating tax credits for the poor. It has been the siren call of Republican Gov. Lingle, who has backed this initiative and has been shot down three years in a row. Even now, with the state swimming in money, it is the GOP fighting for this break, not the

Democrats. The recent comments from Speaker Say indicate it’s unlikely to happen this year.

That state government has such a tremendous surplus indicates we are being taxed too much. The government has not created this wealth - it has been taken from you. If you are interested in seeing any of this cash rightfully returned to you, you have to demand it. Without your voice, Say will claim he was right in keeping your cash because you didn’t care enough to want it back. Don’t let that happen. Call, fax, e-mail or visit your representative and let them know you want your loco-moco money.

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