PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

February 4, 2015

Tax Justice Bills in the 2015 Legislative Session

Filed under: 5Economics,Equality!,HI Politics,Legislature — Bart @ 5:19 pm

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHICH TAX BILLS WE ARE TRACKING: Tax & Homeless BIlls 2015

The links in the attached pdf file can be clicked on to take you to the Status Page of each bill.

Injustice at a Glance This chart shows low income Hawaii residents pay the largest portion of their income in state and local taxes. Wealthy people pay the lowest percentage. That is BACKWARDS!

Injustice at a Glance  
This chart shows low income Hawaii residents pay the largest portion of their income in state and local taxes. Wealthy people pay the lowest percentage. That is BACKWARDS!

NOTE: If you are aware of other bills which would cut taxes on lower income earners or raise taxes on wealthier people, please post the information in the comment section. We must admit, the tax justice network has been slow to get organized this year, but there are signs that is improving.

Progressive Democrats of Hawaii has long been interested in helping shift Hawaii’s tax code from its current, regressive structure to one consistent with the professed beliefs of most Democrats, namely a PROGRESSIVE code, where wealthy people pay a higher tax rate than middle income people and low income people pay the lowest rate.

Unfortunately, despite over 50 years of Democratic control over Hawaii’s tax code, the reverse is true. Low income residents pay the HIGHEST tax rate of any income group, while the wealthiest pay the lowest. Surely, this must be a mistake! If only we point it out to them, our political leaders will realize their mistake and flip our tax structure upside down!

😉

The Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice is the leading group in Hawaii advocating for tax justice issues. People interested in finding in-depth information on the principles behind tax justice, as well as learning about their 2014 legislative proposals, should go to their website. They have been slow to update their online materials for the 2015 session, but the 2014 materials are still very informative and relevant.

They have just put up a link so you can sign up for their legislative action alerts. We highly recommend you submit testimony in support of their bills, particularly their tax proposals.

Their website is here: http://www.hiappleseed.org

Their 2014 tax justice proposals are here:
http://www.hiappleseed.org/sites/default/files/14%200122%20JL%20edits%202013%20Tax%20Report%20(website%20version)%20pdf%20version.pdf

You can sign up for their legislative action alerts here:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/13_pjDNPfUm6g63PcF2sxJSMHwCYm7Df3MwQsGz_jFsA/viewform?c=0&w=1

And next time they hold a fundraiser, please condor giving them some money. They are probably the best investment you can make in social justice advocacy in Hawaii. You will get more bang for your buck with them. And, frankly, they need some staff support to help them deliver the level of high service they are capable of providing.

February 1, 2015

PDH’s 2015 Legislative Priorities

Progressive Democrats of Hawaii

2015 Legislative Priorities

We have five clusters of priority issues:

TAX JUSTICE
MARIJUANA REFORM
AGRICULTURE JUSTICE
BIG MONEY IN ELECTIONS
BIG ELECTRICITY IN ENERGY

Here are some of the issues within each cluster.

TAX JUSTICE PROPOSALS:

1. Update our Low-Income Household Renters Credit
2. Update our Refundable Food/Excise Tax Credit
3. Create a Low-Income Workers Credit
4. Adopt a State Earned Income Tax Credit
5. Halt the Dec 31, 2015 Tax Cut for High-Income Earners

AG JUSTICE

• Support county home rule on use of pesticides
• Establish Statewide buffer zones and disclosure for pesticide use
• Support diversified, sustainable, and small farms
and, if such a bill surfaces,
• Support labeling of GMO products

MARIJUANA REFORM

Support legalization of marijuana
Support de-criminalization (as a less desirable, fall-back position).

BIG MONEY IN ELECTIONS

We support public financing of elections and overthrowing the Citizens United ruling

BIG ELECTRICITY IN ENERGY

We support the development of alternative energy and oppose efforts to reinforce monopolistic control of the electric system. We need to democratize energy.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Note: these priorities are subject to change as the session continues. Bills morph, new issues arise, others fade. When allies start making progress on their bill and adding support might lead to a victory for them, we will shift over, depending upon our availability.

On each of these bills, there are other groups taking the lead, while we are providing support. If we have the relationships and knowledge to lend a hand for a good cause, we will help, so long as we do not get stretched too thin. We claim no “turf” of our own. It is the issues and the relationships which are important. Not the glory, not the press clippings we can take back to our funders.

NOTE: It would be helpful if we had the bill numbers for each of these issues. There are often multiple bills on the same matter. And, of course, there are versions in both chambers. It will take a bit of time to sort this out. If you have bill numbers which correspond to these issues, feel free to post links to the status page of the bills here. Especially if you are already tracking the bills for an organization. Let’s cooperate and work together rather than leave so many things to chance and force our activists to duplicate work which has already been done.

February 12, 2014

In the Past, the State Legislature Has Allowed Minimum Wage to Fall. Repeatedly.

Filed under: 5Economics,HI Politics,Legislature — Bart @ 10:02 pm

Testimony from Progressive Democrats in Favor of a Minimum Wage Hike

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT

Rep. Mark Nakashima, Chair

Rep Kyle Yamashita, Vice Chair

Feb 11, 2014, 9:00 a.m.

Conference room 309

HB 2580, RELATING TO LABOR IN SUPPORT, with AMENDMENTS

Aloha Chair Nakashima, Vice-Chair Yamashita and Members,

My name is Bart Dame and I am testifying on behalf of Progressive Democrats of Hawaii in support of

HB2580, but with a suggested amendment. We have read the other bills and have found things to like

in most of them, but believe HB2580 is the best vehicle to move forward, as it covers our concerns.

Except we believe the proposed wage hike is too low, given how the Legislature has neglected raising

the minimum wage for over seven years and the cost of living has severely eroded its value. (more…)

June 19, 2012

Ed Case Completes PDH Survey

What, in your view, are the reasons preventing the U.S. Senate from passing legislation that better serves the American people?

The main reason is that most of the American people are currently disenfranchised inside the Beltway. The inside crowd is dominated by political action committees and other special interests dedicated solely to the maintenance of their own interests at all costs to the exclusion of everyone else, and Congress is dominated additionally by the mindset that every debate and policy issue presents a stark choice between political extremes.

All of this results in hyperpartisan, my-way-or-the-highway, take-no-prisoners gridlock, and classic alamihi crab syndrome reactions to any attempt to find a better way forward. None of this is representative of the mainstream of the American people. No wonder that, in the most recent poll taken on the subject (Rasmussen, June 2012), only 7% of Americans, crossing all party and other lines, believe Congress is doing an excellent or good job. Please see my Issues Agenda: Fixing Washington.

(more…)

July 17, 2011

Obama is Not Progressive

Thinking or hoping otherwise will not make this statement any less true. Barack Obama is not progressive. For my part, I never believed he was and one only need look at his time in office thus far for evidence.

Let’s start with health care, if only because the issue is at, or near, the top of my priority list. While it’s true there are some good things in the Affordable Health Care Act, like extending to 26 the age under which parents can choose to continue to cover their children, or eliminating the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage because of a preexisting condition, there’s no denying that when it’s all said and done, it is little more than a massive handout to health insurance companies. (more…)

March 30, 2011

We Are One Hawaii Rally

Filed under: 5Economics,General,HI Politics,National Politics — frosty @ 7:49 pm

On this coming Monday, April 4th, at 4:30pm there will be at the Capitol a rally to support working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and dozens of other states where those working people are fighting to keep their rights.

Progressive Democrats of Hawaii is supporting this rally and calling on its members, supporters and allies to “Stand in Solidarity” at this rally and has signed a statement of support:

PDH We Are One Endorsement

Please come out!

April 29, 2010

Rafael del Castillo Completes PDH 1st Congressional Survey

Filed under: 5Economics,Elections,HI Politics,National Politics — Tags: , — frosty @ 8:44 am

REGARDING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The U.S. is in the midst of a prolonged economic crisis. Globally, we are also facing a long-term environmental crisis. In recent campaigns, there has been talk of creating “green collar” jobs and reducing our carbon footprint.

1. What steps do you think Congress should take to rebuild our economy on a more sustainable, yet economically viable basis?

As outlined in my subsequent remarks, we must eliminate from national economic policy the trickle-down theory at transferred from the Bush Administration to President Obama’s Administration in the bailout elements of the stimulus. Our policy must be recommitted to ameliorating the maldistribution of income. We must undertake tax reforms that eliminate regressive policies from taxation of the vast majority of Americans, as discussed below and on my website. Those policies will stimulate savings and investment and increase income and wealth in the middle and working classes, which is the best policy for moderating the effects of future economic variations. We must be vigilant in eliminating the type of profiteering that turned our financial sector into a free for all, instead of a reliable national partner for economic safety and stability. We the need creativity that resides there to meet the needs of broadening wealth, but we must insist that all financial instruments are regulated and protected by adequate reserves, among other things. (more…)

January 3, 2010

Progressives Come Out Asking Obama To Do Better

Filed under: 2Healthcare,5Economics,Barack Obama,General,National Politics — frosty @ 4:15 pm

This past Saturday, a number of progressive activists, including a number of PDHers come out to Kailua to urge President Obama to do more, to do better.

A number of us have been disappointed by his position on a number of issues, including the health care reform bill that could be much, much better, and has provisions that don’t solve the problem, but rather serve as a boondoggle for private insurance companies. While many of us strongly support a Single-Payer system of health insurance, given the political realities we’re today faced with, we were happy to settle with a ‘strong’ public option, which is in danger of being excluded from the final language.

We’re also unhappy about Obama’s decision to send more troops into Afghanistan, escalating a war that’s been waging for the better part of a decade, with no end in sight.

We also haven’t seen the financial reform he promised during the campaign. Instead, its been more of the same complicit favoritism toward the same financial firms and banks who’s irresponsible practices caused the worldwide financial meltdown and current economic crisis.

Obama can and must do better.

Here’s some pictures from the morning.

October 29, 2009

Special Committee Testimony Addressing Teacher Furloughs

Filed under: 5Economics,HI Politics,Legislature — frosty @ 7:51 pm

Below is testimony I’ve submitted for a special committee hearing to consider approaches to deal with the teacher furloughs.

Aloha Senators,

I am here, testifying before you today, on behalf of the Progressive Democrats of Hawaii (PDH).

Let me begin by applauding those Senators who have signed the petition to convene a Special Session of the Legislature to immediately address the financial crisis that continues to plague our state. I believe those Senators truly understand the immediate urgency resulting from the teacher furloughs and that this issue cannot wait to be addressed by the Legislature during the next regular session.

When times were good, our Department of Education (DOE) was struggling to provide a decent education for our children. Test scores in Hawaii repeatedly posted below the national average. And now (more…)

January 19, 2009

Silencing Dr. King

Filed under: 1Stop War,5Economics,Barack Obama,General,HI Politics — Bart @ 11:15 am

Today, as we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, it is a proper time to reflect upon the meaning of the man’s life work and message–the challenge he made to each of us to rise to our responsibilities, get out of our comfort zone and work to stop injustice.

Dr. Martin Luther King: Struggling Not to Lose Him

Dr. King was murdered in April 1968 in an attempt to silence his voice. We cannot erase that crime and the burden it has placed upon the movement for justice. But we can resist the many “little murders” which are committed every year around his birthday as the political and economic elite, dare I say, “the ruling class,” works to silence or muffle his message. (more…)

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress