Posted on Aug 30, 2004 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 04-15
August 30, 2004
Disclosure of Forecasts Prepared by Staff

An opinion was requested as to whether forecast sections of tax credit data tables (the “Staff Forecasts”), prepared by staff of the Tax Research and Planning Office for use by the Council on Revenues (the “Council”) in deliberating and preparing the forecast of state general fund tax revenues, must be open to public inspection under the UIPA.

The Constitution charges the Council with being the final decision-making agency with respect to the preparation of revenue estimates to be used to administer the State.

The OIP found that the Staff Forecasts, by their very nature, reflect the preliminary judgments and opinions of the staff, not the policy or determination of the Council.

Because the Staff Forecasts consist of predecisional, deliberative intra-agency communications and the Council did not adopt or incorporate the Staff Forecasts into the Council’s forecast, the OIP found that the Staff Forecasts met the two requirements necessary to invoke the “deliberative process privilege,” and therefore could be withheld from disclosure under the “frustration” exception to the UIPA set forth at §92F-13(3), HRS.

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