Friday, October 5, 2001

Hawaii State Seal

GOP leaders say gov
was bullied out of tax cut

Remember 9-11-01

By Richard Borreca

Republicans are looking to a special session of the Legislature to both "enhance income and reduce tax burden," according to two GOP leaders, Sen. Sam Slom and Rep. Galen Fox.

The pair were part of a closed-door meeting late yesterday held with Gov. Ben Cayetano and members of his Cabinet and about a dozen GOP lawmakers.

Legislature Slom (R, Hawaii Kai) said the Republicans found themselves in much agreement with their Democratic governor, noting that Cayetano wanted to keep a $48 million capital gains tax cut, but "the Democratic majority pushed him back."

Cayetano announced Wednesday that he was pulling back the recommendation, saying it would cost too much.

Slom also said the governor had to argue against calls from the Democrats in the Legislature to delay a planned state income tax cut.

"He said the Democratic members of the majority proposed curtailing the tax reductions. He is opposed to that and, of course, we are opposed to that," Slom said.

But Cayetano still was without support for his plan for $1 billion in construction projects to help stimulate the economy.

"I still have a continuing concern about those projects," Slom said. "We looked at some of those projects during the regular legislative session, and we didn't like the way they looked then, so I don't think they have magically gotten better."

Cayetano and the Legislature are discussing a special emergency legislative session to change state laws to give tax breaks, spend more money and increase unemployment compensation to help the massive downturn in state employment because of the tourism crisis triggered by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Fox (R, Waikiki) said his GOP House members are not considering just a five-day session beginning Oct. 22, explaining that the Legislature should take as long as needed to examine the situation and find solutions.

"The governor suggested the session might go longer (than five days)," Fox said. "We think it should be a serious, substantive session. Why artificially limit it if good work is being done?"

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