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Counties file appeal on constitutional amendment question

The four counties filed an appeal today of a state Circuit Court ruling denying their challenge to a proposed constitutional amendment that asks voters to allow state lawmakers to impose real property taxes for public education.

Circuit Judge Jeff Crabtree earlier this month denied the counties’ initial request to stop the amendment from going on the ballot.

The counties oppose the proposed amendment, arguing that it would erode the only source of tax income they are allowed by the state. They are seeking to invalidate the ballot question that’s to be on the Nov. 6 ballot, arguing that the language is vague, unclear and misleading.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, among the proposal’s biggest supporters, said it could generate between $200 million and $400 million annually.

On Wednesday, the counties petitioned the Hawaii Supreme Court for “extraordinary writ seeking pre-election relief.” Honolulu Corporation Counsel Donna Leong said the counties are hoping they can get a Supreme Court hearing quicker than the standard appeals process.

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