All seven members of the Hawaii Tax Review Commission have been named, and its members could convene for their first meeting as early as next month to begin the challenging task of reevaluating the state’s tax structure.
Members of the voluntary board include three attorneys, two certified accountants and a bank executive and former bank executive.
Some are familiar names: Peter Ho is head of Bank of Hawaii. Randy Iwase is a local politician and former gubernatorial candidate, and Roy Amemiya is a former Central Pacific Bank executive. Commission member Gregg Taketa said the group could hold its initial meeting in July.
The commission, which meets every five years, last came together in 2005. Technically, the group should have come together last year, but former Gov. Linda Lingle only named two members. Gov. Neil Abercrombie named a third person this year, who was confirmed by the Senate in May, and four interim appointments, including two on Thursday. The four interim members must be confirmed by the Senate next year.
The commission is responsible for analyzing the state’s tax structure and ensuring taxpayers pay their fair share, according to Hawaii Revised Statutes 232E. It’s required to produce a report and recommendations to lawmakers “30 days prior to the convening of the second regular session of the legislature after the members of the commission have been appointed.”
That likely means lawmakers won’t see a report until 2013. The commission’s former chairman said it would be impossible for the new group to come out with a report before January’s session.
The commission’s former vice chairman, Honolulu attorney Ron Heller, said the last commission began meeting in 2005 and issued its comprehensive report in December 2006.
Heller said the 2005 commission mostly met monthly and decided as a group what issues it would analyze.
“The process is wide open if you look at the law that sets up the commission,” he said. “It doesn’t specify details on how often to meet or what kind of report has to be done — it leaves it wide open … To a certain extent, they can define their own assignment.”
The group will have one area that lawmakers have asked to be analyzed. The Legislature passed House Resolution 218, which requests the commission “conduct a study on the projected net loss to Hawaii residents in their federal tax liability that is attributable to the manner in which the state and county governments are currently funded.”
The budget lawmakers approved in May includes $200,000 for the Tax Review Commission. Heller said most of the 2005 budget was used to hire consultants for studies. He said some Department of Taxation staff helped out, but that the group didn’t have a dedicated staff.
Here’s a look at the commission’s seven members.
Roy Amemiya, interim
Chief operating officer of Olelo Community Media. He formerly was senior vice president of Central Pacific Bank and the former City Bank. He also previously was director of Department of Budget and Fiscal Services for the city from 1997 to 2000, and vice president of Bank of Hawaii for almost two decades.
He graduated from the Pacific Coast Banking School in Seattle and earned an undergraduate degree from Purdue University. He holds a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Bachelor of Science. He was appointed on Thursday.
Peter Ho, interim
Chairman, president and CEO of Bank of Hawaii Corp. He previously was president and chief banking officer for Bank of Hawaii. He joined the bank in 1993 as an assistant vice president. He holds an undergraduate degree and MBA from the University of Southern California. He also is chairman of the APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee. He was appointed on Thursday.
Mitchell Imanaka, interim
Founding principal of Honolulu law firm Imanaka Kudo & Fujimoto. He holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. An online bio says he also teaches as an adjunct law professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, focusing on real estate development and finance areas. He was appointed in May.
Randy Iwase, interim
Local politician who served as a state senator from 1990 to 2000, as a Honolulu City Council member in the late 1980s, and as deputy attorney general for the state from 1974 to 1986. He holds a law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He was appointed in May.
Michael McEnerney, confirmed in 2010
Partner at Honolulu accounting firm McEnerney Shimabukuro Okazaki & Fujita CPAs. He holds a law degree from Northwestern University in Chicago.
Darryl Nitta, confirmed in 2011
A CPA and tax senior manager at Honolulu accounting firm Accuity LLP. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of San Francisco and an MBA from Hawaii Pacific University.
Gregg Taketa, confirmed in 2010
Partner at Hilo accounting firm Taketa Iwata Hara & Associates. He has served as past state president of the Hawaii Association of Public Accountants.
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