by Sen. Sam Slom, Smart Business Hawaii (excerpt)
The 2011 Legislative Session, which began in January and is scheduled to adjourn tomorrow, passed many tax and fee bills yesterday but not one bill to help improve Hawaii's ailing business and investment climate.
Of all the lobbying down at the Big Square Building this session, two groups stand out: the red shirted AARP members who roamed the halls every day in a successful effort to defeat Governor Abercrombie's pension tax, and the newly formed, "Save Our Jobs Hawaii" group that successfully defeated the increased alcohol tax bill.
The annual "Streamline Tax" on line internet bill was also defeated for the 7th straight year as was a new tax on my Pepsi!
Rep. Gene Ward and I will host a public Town Hall Meeting on the wrap up of the 2011 Session next Tuesday, May 10, at Hahaione School, 6:30 pm. Join us!
The legislature took exemptions away from individuals and businesses and the TAT share from the counties. Most emphasis this year was on cruelty to animals, prostitution, unions and marijuana. The budget is bigger and badder than before and while it must be balanced and erase a $1.3 billion deficit by June 30, 2013, the problem will continue again July 1, 2013. There has been no change from taxing and spending. And raiding of special funds like the Hurricane Relief Fund. Pray for no Hawaii hurricanes.
Several businesses have already announced hiring freezes, and possible layoffs because of the legislative action. Several local non-profits are even harder hit and several may cease operations.
The State Council on Revenues next meets on May 26. More negative forecasts are expected.