Editor’s Note: In July 2012, Civil Beat sent six questions to each of the candidates registered to run in the Aug. 11 primary for Hawaii State House of Representatives District 24. Kimberly Case was the only one who responded. Della Au Belatti and Isaiah Sabey did not. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Case’s response.

Preferred Candidate Name: Kimberly S. Case

Senate/House District Number: House District 24

Date of Birth: 07/09/1962

Place of Birth/Hometown: Born in Ohio but moved to Honolulu in 1968 so consider Honolulu my hometown

Current Profession/Employer: Super Mom

Education/Alma Mater(s): Punahou School and UCLA, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

1. With the exception for Honolulu rail, the state has not raised the general excise tax in decades. Would you consider increasing the GET to help the state meet its budget demands?

Asking the citizens of our state to pay more in taxes should be a last resort to be considered only after we are convinced that our state agencies are making efficient and appropriate use of the tax revenues we already collect. Keep in mind that the Hawaii GET, because of “pyramiding”, is roughly equivalent to charging local consumers a double-digit sales tax. Now we need to address our fiscal issues including reform and funding of our ERIS and EUTF obligations as well as maintain the social safety net. However, I believe the citizens and businesses in Hawaii already provide state government with adequate funds to do that. ↩ back to top

2. Lawmakers proposed relaxing environmental regulatory review to spur development and job growth in the 2012 session, and the issue is expected to resurface next year. Where do you stand?

Rather than grant temporary or targeted relief from regulations we should be looking to reform the system and ensure it works efficiently and effectively for everyone. I suspect that we can achieve efficient and effective regulation by bringing all of the stakeholders together…yes, developers, environmentalists, and state agencies all at the same table…to develop a system that works. Among the potential remedies I’ve heard about being needed include having all sides come together on what activities require a complete environmental review, streamlining that review when necessary, and better educating state agencies so that unnecessary reviews are avoided. ↩ back to top

3. Gambling — are you for it or against it? If not, why not? If so, what type of gambling and with what kind of restrictions?

I would consider supporting our State joining a national powerball lottery if, and only if, all profits were exclusively given to the funding of education, education infrastructure, salaries of educators, school supplies, computers and other educational expenditures. In addition, no money shall be cut from existing State educational funding. The gambling profits would be directly added to current and future budgets without any cuts to allocated money allowed. For example, in California, as lottery money was added to educational funding, the State Legislature began reducing money it allocated to education, thus putting the educational system in its current dysfunctional and bankrupt status. Thus any supplemental money must be just that, supplemental. ↩ back to top

4. The Sunshine Law is a hallmark of an open democracy accountable to its citizens. Yet, the Legislature exempts itself from this requirement. Do you support more transparency in government operations, or are there legitimate reasons to conduct some of the people’s business behind closed doors?

Absolutely, transparency in government is critical to reestablishing trust in elected officials. Recent years have forced new levels of transparency on both for-profit and non-profit corporations. There is no reason that citizens should be excluded from knowing what their government is up to “behind closed doors?. In fact, I believe that there should be a complete ban on closed door meetings that any legislator attends in which issues currently before the legislature are discussed. ↩ back to top

5. What is the best legislation — and worst legislation — that the Legislature has approved in recent years? Please explain.

Why hasn’t the legislature focused smart tax incentives on growing emerging fields such as high tech, optics, pharma and robotics. Only focusing pharmaon television and film for tax incentives in not going to bring more high paying jobs to Hawaii nor expand our core business of tourism. The legislature need to pass tax incentives that focus and incourage new 21st century business ventures. ↩ back to top

6. What is an issue that you would champion at the Legislature — one that perhaps has not received much attention, or an issue that is important to your district?

I have been introducing legislation through my Senator, Brian Taniguchi for the past 2 years. These include Senate Bills 678, 679, and 2676. In addition, I also requested a fourth bill of which is almost identical to SB 1276. These bills were intended to advance preventive care coverage by our non-profit health insurance companies as well as encourage more competition in our future health insurance exchange. It is impossible for independent insurance companies to compete fairly with our non-profits as HMSA and Kaiser do not have to pay taxes on individual and corporate policies whereas insurance companies must pay the four plus tax on each policy that tis written, Other than improving our Health Insurance here in Hawaii, my other area of passion is the education of our youth. I am unhappy with our curriculum, hours of instruction, lack of core courses in emerging fields and lack of vocational training. It is imparative that mandatory pre-school and pre-K be provided to our keiki as early education provides long-term benefits in achieving greater rates of graduation, lower drop-out rates, and higher income earnings with educational achievement. In addition, our Universities must increase the availability of “STEM” classes to prepare our college students for the careers of the future. ↩ back to top