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.