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Saturday, May 6, 2023
HTA Funding? $30M Magically Appears After Legislature Zeroes out Budget
By News Release @ 6:20 AM :: 2240 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government, Tourism

JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE GOVERNOR, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, LEGISLATURE AND HAWAI‘I TOURISM AUTHORITY

Office of the Governor Press Release, May 4, 2023

HONOLULU, HI – Governor Josh Green, M.D., Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke, and leaders from the State Senate and House of Representatives and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) announced a compromise solution to fund the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority for next fiscal year.

“Legislative leaders provided flexibility to our administration to fund HTA,” said Governor Green.  “But, it is important that we figure out how we can shift this agency from its focus of marketing tourism to more strategically looking at destination management that would attract and educate responsible visitors.”

“Our legislative leaders worked collaboratively over the last few days to figure out a temporary solution so that HTA can continue to function,” said Lieutenant Governor Luke.  “But, it was very clear from those discussions that HTA needed to fundamentally change. However, there will be deeper and more thoughtful discussions that HTA and the visitor industry will have to engage in over the coming months.”

“HTA has promised better, more frequent and honest communication with the Legislature and the public and clearer focus on destination management,” said Senator Lynn DeCoite, Senate Energy, Economic Development and Tourism Committee Chair.  “Only if we all work collaboratively, can we continue to have a thriving tourism industry, but in a way that Hawai‘i residents will support and want to see.”

“Hawai‘i wants tourism’s success to be more than just visitor counts,” said Representative Sean Quinlan.  “Instead, we want our #1 industry to be geared towards higher spending, more conscientious and less-impactful visitors.”

“HTA is thankful that the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and the Legislature agreed on a funding approach that will allow HTA to continue its important work in destination management and visitor education to keep supporting our top economic driver,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of HTA.   “We understand that our spending will be more scrutinized, and we recognize that we have a lot of work ahead. We are confident that we can find a way to balance the various needs of the people we serve.”

---30---

Clue: Meditate on the image of the Honolulu Police commission 'giving' Kealoha $250K without approval of the Honolulu Council.

REALLY OBVIOUS QUESTIONS:

1) Why is the LG's 'agreement' required?  The LG has no executive authority per State Constitution. 

2) How did Legislators 'agree' to fund HTA while rejecting all HTA funding bills? 

RELATED: Dela Cruz News: Conference Committee Sneaks $200M Slush Fund into Budget

SA Editorial: Tourism agency woes

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