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September 1, 2005

Court OKs challenge to taxpayer funding of Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Topics: National News

Today's HSB article repeats much of what I wrote yesterday; however, it states that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) budget is US $28.5 Million with US $2.8 Million coming from the state of Hawaii's general fund. Only the US $2.8 Million is under challenge.

A group of Hawai'i taxpayers can challenge the expenditure of about $2.8 million a year in state tax money for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday in yet another appellate decision jeopardizing programs that benefit Native Hawaiians.

But because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling limited the lawsuit to that money, the decision isn't expected to have the far-reaching impact of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2000 decision that struck down the Hawaiians-only voting for OHA trustees or the 9th Circuit's recent decision that declared Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy a violation of federal civil rights law.

The article clarifies the issue of what money can be criticized: tax money.

Revenues gained from ceded lands cannot be questioned, according to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. These lands are the one belonging to the Hawaiian homesteaders, like Tony Sang. Accordingly, Tony Sang and the other Hawaiian homesteaders are not effected by the outcome of the Akaka Bill. This decision must be the most disappointing to the pro-Akaka Bill malicious rumormongers.

Deputy Attorney General Lau is considering a request for a rehearing with the US Supreme Court over the challenge to tax money allocated from the state taxpayers to OHA. The thought of it is simply mind-boggling: a taxpayer being able to question how his moneys are used! My God, what is happening to the political spoils in the state of Hawaii?

Hui Pu suggests to use the recent ruling to buoy the Akaka Bill is wrong, because the Hawaiian Homesteaders still have claims. Hui Pu alleges that OHA betrays the Hawaiian people by spending millions on lobbyists to pass the Akaka Bill rather than to attend to socio-economic needs of the Hawaiian people.

OHA set up to help meet obligations to Hawaiians . OHA has US $365 Million in assets. The income from those assets are designated to assist the Native Hawaiian people. It appears, from the voices of opposition, OHA acts mainly as a war chest for advocacy and lobbying.

Supporters of OHA decry latest court ruling. Governor Lingle feared more challenges would be forthcoming, since the Appeals Court ruled narrowly and technically in order to allow future challenges.

Posted for HarryTho (received via email from Hawaii)

Posted by Richard at September 1, 2005 11:37 PM

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