By Lt. Governor Duke Aiona
Regrettably, our state recently took a big step backwards when legislation (SB 199) that undermined Hawai‘i’s tech industry was enacted into law.
This new law cuts the High Technology Business Investment Tax Credit, also known as Act 221, by imposing severe, retroactive limitations to claims for investments made in the high-tech industry.
While the limitations to the tax credit will provide some savings to our state in the short-term, this flawed measure has the potential to cripple an industry that we have worked for a decade to build up in order to diversify our economy. Any potential short-term savings accrued could be offset by the decline of an industry and decreasing tax revenue.
Furthermore, investors and businesses plan years in advance and fundamentally changing the rules midstream was short-sighted and detrimental to our future.
Given the current economic challenges, our policies must convey that Hawai‘i is open for business. The legislation sent the wrong message.
Regardless of this bill’s flaws, it is now law. As a former state judge, that is something I must respect.
However, it does not mean that we should give up and abandon our burgeoning high-tech industry. Rather, these past legislative actions only underscore the need to effect meaningful change.
In the coming weeks and months, I will be leading our state’s efforts to formulate solutions to grow our high-tech industry and put us back on track. Your input and involvement in this new endeavor will be critical to our success.
If you share the vision of a thriving high tech industry in Hawai‘i, I ask you now for your help. Please contact my office at email@example.com and let me know if you want to be part of the solution.
Together, with the support of the tech community, we will propose legislation next year to grow and expand our high-tech industry. We can, and we will, make a difference. But government cannot do it alone.
The Big Island business community’s help is needed. With your help, I am confident we can overcome the challenges of today to ensure a more prosperous tomorrow for Hawai‘i’s economy.