March 29th, 2011

The state Council on Revenues today lowered the revenue forecast for the fiscal year, not because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan or the unrest in Africa and the Middle East, but because of an unusual drop in tax collections in February.

The state collected about $315 million in February, substantially less than economists anticipated.

While the drop could be an anomaly, it could also mean the economy is not recovering as fast as economists believed.

Pearl Iboshi, an economist, and others on the council found the February figure hard to believe. She had a theory for the state Department of Taxation. “Is there a chance that there’s, uh, you know, lots of …”

“A drawer there with a bunch of checks in it?” University of Hawaii-Manoa economist Carl Bonham said.

“Yes, lots of checks,” Iboshi said.

“That somebody forgot to open because everything slowed down?” Bonham said.

A state Department of Taxation staffer slowly nodded her head.

“There is a chance of that?” Jack Suyderhoud, a University of Hawaii-Manoa business economics professor, asked the staffer. “Is that why you’re going like that?”

“That’s not saying yes, but …” Bonham said.

4 Responses to “Checks”

  1. Chicken Grease:

    Insane. Thanks for this info’, Political RadarThere should be a law” that prevents the state of Hawaii from cashing “what you OWE: $_____.___” checks after, say, 30, no, 3 days from the date of the check. Yep, if our elected officials Lionel Richie-class TRULY had our interests in mind, they’d pass something like this; “Mr. and/or M[r]s. Taxpayer, go ahead and VOID that which you owe if we don’t cash the thing in a reasonable amount of time. We’re in no rush to cash what you owe. We apparently don’t need it.” And taxes NOT collected affect pricey state salary and benefits FIRSTLY to the max’ ‘fore public programs.

    Like a president begging ‘fore Zod, TEA PARTY! WHERE ARE YOU FOR HAWAII?!

  2. e. pang:

    i mailed a check for ge taxes on jan 15 and as of early march the check still had not been processed

  3. Kimo:

    A letter to the editor the other day noted an experience similar to what I had a couple of months ago – wrote a check for estimate CY 2010 taxes and mailed in in early December – it was cashed in February some time, a long enough delay that I considered checking w DOTax to see if it might have been lost. Pretty much the same delay occurs when I wriote GET payments due twice a year. Ridiculous.

    Also, by the way, did anyone bring up the fact that Feb has fewer days than most months?

  4. Micka:

    Somebody should really check if the tax dept was directed to delay processing the checks. I’d like to know if the director of taxation was aware of thee delays.

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