by Andrew Walden
Over the last few days, Pacific Resources Partnership mailers sent to District 6 voters are tapping out a simple theme: “Carol Fukunaga is running for City Council to continue what she started in the State Senate--high tech.”
But Fukunaga’s ‘High-Tech’ credentials come from her decade-long advocacy of the Act 215/221 tax credits--one of the biggest taxpayer rip-offs in Hawaii history.
Here’s a decade of news coverage Carol Fukunaga and PRP want you to forget:
"Hawaii’s high-technology tax credits have cost the state an estimated $1 billion in lost tax revenue since 1999...." -- Pacific Business News, July 24, 2012
"A wealth of new information about how Tony Rutledge Sr. operated Unity House Inc. was unsealed in federal court yesterday, including grand jury testimony that the tax-exempt Unity House 'sold' Hawaii tax credits to wealthy local investors and Rutledge used the organization’s money to gain 'political influence.'” -- Honolulu Advertiser, January 12, 2005
"Continue expanding ... Act 221/215 tax credits." Sen. Carol Fukunaga, quoted in Honolulu Advertiser, December 28, 2008
"...buzz in Silicon Valley is that Act 221 is a tax scheme and that any company with Act 221 money is borderline dishonest and should be avoided.” -- Hawaii Business, March 20, 2003
"…companies with flimsy technology premises may have abused the spirit of the act, costing the state millions in tax revenue…." -- Star-Bulletin, July 14, 2004.
"In Hawaii, there are deals where you can invest $1 and get $10 back…. It's not creating any new jobs. It's just transferring a division out to do the same thing they were doing before, and now you get a tax break." -- Montana Department of Commerce July 3, 2003
"Eleven Hawaii insurance companies, including one (Royal State) closely tied to the state's two largest public employee unions, avoided paying $19 million in state taxes in 2001 and 2002 by investing in high technology ventures, including the "Blue Crush" teen surf movie." -- Honolulu Advertiser, February 22, 2004
"Fukunaga (blocked) a bill that would reduce Act 221 credits." -- Honolulu Advertiser, March 17, 2010
"It's kind of like pornography.... This is cheating. This is abuse." -- Hawaii Business, March 20, 2003
"Hollywood has suckered Hawaii...into financing films. The big winners: insurance companies and tax brokers." Lowell Kalapa, president of the nonprofit Tax Foundation of Hawaii, Forbes, February 2, 2004.
"...we are throwing money at incentives rife with abuse...." Forbes, February 2, 2004
Hoku Corp Lays off Workers, Lien holders Move to Seize Polysilicon Plant -- May 23, 2012 Idaho Statesman (Hoku had been touted as the big Act 221 success story.)
"UH analysis calls Act 221 a 'mistake'" -- Honolulu Advertiser, November 27, 2009
"Sen. Fukunaga pushed for a bigger payoff for the industry." -- Ian Lind April 28, 2012
"State can neither measure nor ensure the effectiveness of the nearly $1 billion in tax credits." -- Hawaii State Auditor Marion Higa, July, 2012
“Carol Fukunaga is running for City Council to continue what she started in the State Senate--high tech.” – Pacific Resources Partnership, October, 2012.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 6.