State of Hawaii

of Business
faces overhaul

A reorganization is part of Gov. Lingle’s
plans to boost the economy

Lingle to attend Hawaiian roundtable

By Gary T. Kubota

WAILEA, Maui >> Gov. Linda Lingle says she will likely do a "massive" reorganization of the state Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism as part of her plan to expand Hawaii's economy.

"It is one of the strangest conglomerations of agencies and organizations and divisions of any department of state government," Lingle said.

Gov. Linda Lingle talked about reorganizing the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism yesterday on Maui.

She said the plan includes removing the Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii from the department.

The governor spoke to close to 300 people at the Wailea Marriott yesterday at a luncheon sponsored by the Maui Hotel Association and the Maui Chamber of Commerce. It was a kind of business homecoming for Lingle, a Republican who began in politics about 22 years ago as a Maui County councilwoman representing Molokai.

Lingle said her administration was looking at a number of other ideas, such as shifting cable television control from the state to the counties.

"Cable television, I feel, has no business being at the state level," she said.

She said county cable tax revenues go to the state government in Honolulu, where the state approves public-access television plans for various islands and sends the money back to the counties.

"That doesn't makes sense to me, so we'd like to turn that over to the counties as well. They're certainly capable of dealing with it," Lingle said.

She said she also plans to form a "power-sharing committee" of private citizens and county and state officials to look at the relationship between state and county government.

"There's so much overlap and duplication," she said. "There's also unnecessary state intrusion into what I believe should be county decision-making."

Lingle, a former two-term Maui mayor, said she wanted to reach out to people living in outlying regions who felt left out of the political process, and planned to create a number of advisory boards.

She said the boards are modeled after advisory committees in Hana and West Maui that were formed during her tenure as mayor on the Valley Isle.

"We're taking that concept now to the state level," she said. "Every county will have its own governor's advisory committee to keep us up to date on issues."

Lingle said during the next four years, her major goals are to restore trust in government, expand the economy and improve education.

While the governor noted that the uncertainty about war with Iraq cannot be ignored, she said the state will be prepared for the economic aftermath.

State of Hawaii

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