View Point

By Whitney Anderson

Saturday, June 5, 1999

GOP does care
about the economy

YOUR May 27 Star-Bulletin/NBC Hawaii News8 poll revealed that 80 percent of Hawaii's voters believe that the Legislature is not focusing on economic solutions for the state's economic woes. That may be the spin the media is taking, but it is incorrect by any means.
An unwary public is suffering from a lack of information, perpetuated by the media's refusal to fully disclose or publish many of the legislators' proposed solutions.

The truth be told, many of us in the Legislature are very aware of the seriousness of the economy and have introduced bold, innovative measures.

If they were to be considered, they would significantly and positively affect the economy and put dollars into the pockets of our citizens.

Hawaii's economic woes are a result of many years of misguidance, mismanagement, misuse and misplanning. Republicans have had innovative ideas for years that could have and would have improved our economy, our schools and our lives.

Yet these ideas have been ignored by the majority party, the business community and the media.

For the past two sessions, my opening day speech has focused on the GOP's plans to fix the economy. Both Senate Republicans have introduced legislative packages that have traditionally been strong on the economy and education.

This year, we proposed eliminating the tax on food and over-the-counter drugs. This would have resulted in immediate savings to each and every citizen of the state.

We proposed an end to the pyramiding tax that would have brought immediate relief, rather than the administration's seven-year phase-in plan.

We suggested adopting a unicameral type of legislative body, one that would streamline the legislative process and save taxpayers thousands of dollars.

We introduced legislation that would have placed an automatic sunset at the end of the 2001 legislative session on all existing state administrative rules and regulations, also streamlining the legislative process.

I have also proposed several ways to utilize state lands, with different options. Rather than going through a costly condemnation process to take someone's land, we should try, when at all possible, to utilize state lands.

I have suggested various lease options. One option would phase in the percentage of rent for the first seven years of the 55-year lease; another would allow no rent payment for the first five years of the 55-year lease.

Both of these alternatives would have helped our citizens who continue to pay real property taxes to obtain loans, boost construction and reduce unemployment.

HAWAII is one of only two states in the country that does not support some form of legalized gambling, which potentially could generate significant revenues.Year after year, we debate the pros and cons of lotteries, off-shore casinos, horse racing and even bingo.

Yet, we pass nothing. I have proposed a non-binding referendum to give the people of this state the opportunity to voice their opinion on gambling, once and for all.

The media should have done their job by providing this information and these ideas to the taxpayers rather than purposely excluding them.

In fact, the media have a responsibility to fully inform the public that many of their legislators do take their concerns regarding the economy seriously, and are dedicated to finding real solutions.

Whitney T. Anderson is a Republican state senator
representing the 25th district (Kailua, Waimanalo).

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