Sunday, June 23, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Speaker Souki Opening Day Remarks
By News Release @ 3:48 PM :: 4628 Views :: Hawaii State Government

Speaker Joe Souki remarks as prepared for delivery:

My fellow members, and all of our guests, aloha and welcome to the 2013 Regular Session!
Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to recognize some of our distinguished guests: Senator Schatz and Mrs. Schatz;
Governor Abercrombie; Lt. Governor Tsutsui; Chief Justice Recktenwald; Chair Machado; And of course, Senator Akaka and Mrs. Akaka.
I would also like to recognize the former governors; the mayors and County Council chairs; members of our military; and members of our Consular Corps.
And before I go on, I'd like to introduce my family.
Thank you all for being here to commemorate this momentous occasion with us.
We are here today to chart a path forward for our state.
With Hawaii's economy on the rise, construction stable, tourism up, and unemployment down, there is reason for cautious optimism.
This is the moment we have been waiting for.
Over the past few years, the state budget was cut by over 2 billion dollars. Meanwhile, wages dropped, health benefit costs rose, many people were forced out of work.
The homeless population still grows among them, war heroes, persons needing mental health services, families unable to pay their mortgage or rent.
We have the chance now, to rebuild what the recession took away.
Investment in projects and programs throughout the state is critical. But to strengthen economic development and job growth, to restore public services, we need to proceed intelligently.
Members, if we want to restore the safety net, put people back to work, and provide the best education, including early childhood education,
If we want to take care of people's health, take care of our kupuna, and make sure the state's health care system transitions into the new era of health care smoothly and without undue delay,
If we want to improve our roads, bridges, and transportation infrastructure -- to reduce traffic, improve the mobility of our residents, and enhance safety -- in every county,
If we want clean energy that uses the best renewable energy resources, including our ocean and solar resources,
If we want to be responsible stewards of Hawaii's natural resources and our native plants and animals,
If we want to increase farming opportunities on agricultural land and the market for locally-grown products,
If we want to support the tourism industry and promote the Hawaii product to the world,
If we want to do all these things the people require -- and yes, I know we do -- we must enhance our revenue stream. We must put together a mix of strategies that will generate more state revenues ---- equitably.
One option may be to rethink tax credits. No, I'm not saying we should abandon all caution and fall for the marketing hype. Instead, let's learn from our experience and do our due diligence. The film industry claims a tax credit will generate $350 million in revenues for the State. Should we turn our back on this? Let's give it a serious and thorough look first.
But increasing revenue does not mean placing an unfair burden on those who can least afford it. Members, the top personal tax rate was down at 7-3/4 percent at one time and now it's up to 11 percent the highest in the nation. It's time to look at rolling back the personal tax burden for people with lower incomes and the middle class, at least incrementally, over the next few years.
Members, I am humbled and honored to stand before you today.
Over my 30 years here, I have seen many faces come and go. I have seen our communities prosper, struggle, and prosper again.
But one thing that remains constant is the privilege and price of public service.
All of us know what it's like to walk the district. We go door to door -- we talk to our constituents. We ask them to entrust us with their vote and a seat in this chamber.
The price for this privilege is the responsibility each of us has to conduct ourselves with compassion and dignity. Every day, as you walk down these halls and on this floor, remember the hopes and dreams of the people of this state -- and do your best for them.
Before I close, I would like to thank Speaker Calvin Say for his 14 years of leadership as Speaker of the House, and for maintaining the fiscal solvency of this State.
I look forward to working with each and every one of you this session. Thank you, very much, for the trust you have in me. Aloha.
Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii