From Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice

Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice has issued a report entitled Gambling with Paradise, describing the negative economic and cultural impacts that the introduction of gambling in Hawaii would have on the low-income population of our state.

Over the past several years, the Hawaii Legislature has considered several bills that would legalize certain forms of gambling. Hawaii is only one of two states in the nation that has so far avoided the many severe consequences associated with gambling. Click HERE to view the Hawaii Appleseed LEJ report.

LEJ is partnering with the Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling to oppose all gambling legislation. So far, none of the bills legalizing lotteries or casinos have been heard by any committee.

Hawaii Appleseed has been following several bills in the 2013 Legislative session. Here is a recap of its priorities and the status of the legislation:

  • EITC: LEJ has taken the lead to advocate implementation of a state Earned Income Tax Credit. A bill was introduced in both houses – S.B. 301 and H.B. 385. The Senate Committee on Human Services advanced the senate bill, which awaits a hearing with the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. The House bill has been passed by the Committee on Human Services and was to be heard by the Finance Committee on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 11 a.m.
  • Poverty Tax Credit: LEJ is also advocating for the implementation of a state poverty tax credit to eliminate income taxes on families living under the poverty line. S.B. 98 has been passed by the Committee on Ways and Means and awaits crossover. Its companion, H.B. 384 awaits being heard by the Committee on Finance.
  • Conveyance Tax: LEJ is working with a coalition of nonprofits on a variety of conveyance tax proposals that would close loopholes and increase state revenues. These bills include S.B. 22, S.B. 97, H.B. 386, and H.B. 680.
  • Housing: Collaborating with Partners in Care, a coalition of homeless providers and advocates, LEJ has supported a number of measures that would provide additional affordable housing and improve the lives of those experiencing homelessness, including S.B. 91, S.B. 92, S.B. 302, S.B. 303, H.B. 518, and H.B. 519.

Class certification won: In addition, on Jan. 15 Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Edwin C. Nacino granted class certification in LEJ’s case for low-income tenants living at the Jack Hall housing project in Waipahu. The case now officially applies to approximately 250 individuals and families whom the suit alleges were overcharged by more than $1 million during the period covered by the case. Click HERE to read more about the case. Click HERE to see the class certification order.


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