Chair Karamatsu, Vice-Chair Ken Ito, members of the House Committee on Judiciary,
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii strongly opposes HB 345 which would postpone the commencement of the pilot project for comprehensive public funding of Hawaii County Council elections from 2010 to 1014.
Increasingly, states and counties nation-wide, and even national leaders in Congress, the media, and non-profit organizations have come out in support of public funding for elections, in part to stop the escalating cost of elections which discourage too many well-qualified people from running for office.
In a report, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics predicted that more than $5.3 billion will go toward financing the federal contests in November. They predicted that the presidential contest alone will cost nearly $2.4 billion. They reported that this is the first time that candidates for the White House have raised and spent over $1 billion dollars. This year's cost just for the presidency will be nearly double what was spent in 2004 and triple that spent in 2000.
Like it or not, all of us are paying for all of the money spent, not only through our own direct contributions, but indirectly paying for the contributions from major industries and corporations as they raise the prices of goods and services to pay for their own donations, and/or through the favored tax treatments, grants, etc. tucked into congressional legislation.
As long as we are paying for it, it behooves the public to supply the money directly to our candidates.
We have finally, after ten years, a pilot project set to go which will enable us to evaluate the results,
and make the necessary corrections and adjustments in the next few succeeding elections, and to then judge the outcome.
This bill gives no reason for postponing the commencement of this project. The supporters of this project are ready to inform the citizens of Hawaii County on how they can run for the County Council using public funds, and also helping the citizens of this county understand this project. If there is any good reason for the postponement, we should know about it.
We urgently ask the House Judiciary Committee to hold this bill in Committee.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify in opposition to HB 345.