Akaka Bill's critics say it would be costly to state


POSTED: Friday, January 09, 2009

A study commissioned by a group opposed to a native Hawaiian government within the United States estimates it would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.


;[Preview] Akaka Bill Awaits Congressional Session

Supporters of the Akaka bill are gearing up for another push for passage in the new Congressional session.

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  The libertarian Grassroot Institute of Hawaii's study, released yesterday, predicts a native Hawaiian government would snatch public land and up to $690 million in state tax revenues per year.

But the Office of Hawaiian Affairs said the report “;is based on fear and spreads misinformation,”; because the native Hawaiian legislation pending before Congress does not provide for land transfers or tax breaks.

The $15,000 study was conducted by the Beacon Hill Institute, a public policy think tank at Suffolk University in Boston. It assumes residents and businesses of a native Hawaiian government would be exempt from state income and excise taxes, similar to American Indians on reservations.

“;We're going to have a nation carved out of the state of Hawaii, and we don't know the impact,”; said Dick Rowland, co-founder of the Grassroot Institute. “;It's frightening.”;

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, who is pushing the measure in Congress, said the legislation only spells out a method to create an entity that would represent Hawaiians to the U.S. government.

“;Part of the point of the Akaka Bill is not to dictate what will happen, but set up a process ... so future leaders can make the decisions themselves,”; spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke said.

The measure would set up a native Hawaiian governing body that would negotiate with the federal government over its powers and land base.

OHA accused the Beacon Hill Institute of being biased and affiliated with “;radical neo-conservatives.”;

“;The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act does not cause a loss of tax revenues or a loss of state land,”; OHA said in a statement. “;The bill reaffirms existing political and legal status as native people and sets forth a mechanism of federal recognition for a reorganized native Hawaiian representative governing entity.”;