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Friday, June 9, 2000

Hawaii State Seal

Cayetano vetoes
legislation supporting
maritime interests

By Richard Borreca


Gov. Ben Cayetano has vetoed two bills that the Hawaii maritime industry had identified as the most important for this legislative session.

One bill would have dedicated state tax money, up to $420 million over 25 years, to repair and rebuild passenger ship harbor facilities throughout the state.

The money would have come from the public-service company taxes collected from passenger cruise ships. The money would have gone to the state Transportation and Natural Resources boating funds.

But, concerned that the bill would "severely limit the flexibility to allocate and prioritize" how the money collected from the tax was spent, Cayetano vetoed the bill.

Kraig Kennedy, executive vice president of McCabe Hamilton & Renny Co. and chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Maritime Committee, said he was disappointed because the bill was needed. "We are going to continue to work with the governor and Legislature and hope to be a little more successful next year," he said.

Cruise-ship revenues, according to a state study in 1998, contributed more than $300 million and 2,900 jobs.

"We put a lot of work and effort into it because we thought it would provide the opportunity to improve the harbors around the state," Kennedy said.

Cayetano, however, argued that the state may need the money collected from cruise ships for other expenses.

Another bill also wanted by the maritime industry would have limited current and future use of certain lands to maritime purposes, Cayetano objected to it, saying the bill would cause an overlap in jurisdiction. "This overlap would result in confusion and potential conflicts respecting various state agencies over management of state lands," he said.

Cayetano also vetoed a bill that would have required the state to cover a portion of the medical expenses of people on social security who have a terminal illness.

"This bill is objectionable," Cayetano said, "because no funds were appropriated."

But Waikiki Republican Rep. Galen Fox said: "This bill would have worked because at least for the AIDS population, one department discovered funds it could use to keep these disabled individuals alive."

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