The League of Women Voters wholeheartedly supports S.B. 2605 which would increase the election fund contribution amount on state income tax returns from $2 to $5 for campaign spending purposes. A "tax check-off" allows taxpayers to earmark a small portion of their taxes, and does not increase the individual taxpayers' tax liability.
The primary source of the Hawaii Election Campaign fund is the individual income tax check-off, and according to recent Campaign Spending Commission budget testimony, the revenue from the $2 tax check-off for FY 2007 totaled $220,406. The Office of Elections Budget testimony noted that through the years the number of taxpayers checking off on tax returns has declined steadily. When that testimony was written, they were awaiting payment of the last half of 2007 to determine if the downward trend continues. That testimony also pointed out that “while the fund is healthy today, in the not too distant future, additional funds will be needed to supplement the current tax check-off”; and the “future will be closer if there is any increased demand for public financing or if the legislature decides to provide full public funding.”
The relatively small increase to $5 is a good sense way to help overcome the effect of fewer check-offs, and to increase the Hawaii Election Campaign fund, which in turn, is an important source to provide public funding of elections. And you can be sure that the demand for publicly financed campaigns is growing, strongly and significantly, so voters can once again take control of government.
We urge you to pass S.B. 2605 to help resource the Hawaii election campaign fund. Thank you for the opportunity to testify.