State Rep. Barbara Marumoto’s comment on Tuesday that Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s proposed pension tax, when combined with his call to repeal a state income tax deduction, was “almost cruel” prompted a quick rebuke from the governor.
“When you start taxing pensions at such a low level, it’s almost cruel,” the east side Republican said of the $37,500 federal adjusted gross income threshold for single and married taxpayers filing separately under Abercrombie’s plan.
Abercrombie at first said that if Marumoto objected to the threshold she should come up with an alternative. But then he suggested that the lawmaker was misrepresenting his proposal.
“If you want to put forward an argument, representative, and you want to characterize it as cruel, then the least you can do is accurately represent what it is that we’re talking about. We are not talking about someone whose sole income – total – is $37,500,” he said.
Afterward, Abercrombie’s staff acknowledged that the governor had misspoke. His pension tax plan as written would, as Marumoto indicated, apply to single and married taxpayers filing separately with federal adjusted gross income of $37,500. (Hat tip to KITV for first mentioning the mistake.)
It was the second time in as many weeks that Abercrombie mischaracterized a key element of one his proposals at a public forum.
Last week, at a town hall meeting, Abercrombie told a retired police officer that his call to end state Medicare Part B reimbursements for retired public workers would not apply to him when, as originally written, it would have applied to the retiree.