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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, November 11, 2001

What the Legislature did during the special session

 •  Some find Legislature's special session no help

Advertiser Staff

The following is a list of economic-related bills passed during the special legislative session called to deal with the impact of the Sept. 11 attacks:

Senate Bill 5:

Lets some businesses file tax returns on a less regular basis. Some businesses that previously had to pay income taxes every month may now pay every quarter. Some businesses that had to pay every quarter now only have to pay twice per year.

This doesn't change the amount of tax that businesses owe, but it means they have more time to collect the cash. The idea is to ease the pressure on business' cash flow.

Senate Bill 6:

Changes the tax on some transportation companies from the public service company tax to the general excise tax. This is designed to help bus companies, water carriers and other transport companies. The public service tax is based on last year's income, so it can be a burden if post-Sept. 11 incomes have dropped significantly. Transport companies will probably pay about $3 million less total tax under the GET, which is based on current receipts.

Senate Bill 8:

Allows tax credits for housing and hotel construction and remodeling. This would give a tax credit of 4 percent for housing construction and remodeling, and a 10 percent credit for work done on hotels.

The credits are not refundable — in other words, homeowners and hotels don't get a check in the mail if the credit exceeds the taxes. But it can be applied against future income.

The residential credit covers work done between January 2001 and December 2003. The hotel credit will be at 10 percent from November 2001 to June 30, 2003.

House Bill 9:

Provides an additional $10 million for emergency tourism marketing. The money will be taken out of the tourism special fund, and used to support a new advertising campaign. The Hawai'i Tourism Authority and Hawai'i Visitors & Conventions Bureau are heading up the effort.

Senate Bill 10:

Provides $5 million to market increased safety at state airports. The idea is to persuade uncertain travelers to fly again. The money would come out of the airport revenue fund, and would be used by the state Department of Transportation on an ad campaign, which would be subject to approval by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Senate Bill 11:

Provides $36 million to improve security at airports, harbors and highways. The money would go to build and staff security improvements. Though not a direct economic stimulus, the money could help by creating jobs.

Senate Bill 13:

Authorizes the state to use 28 percent of the money it received in a tobacco suit settlement to finance construction of a new University of Hawai'i medical school in Kaka'ako. The state will use the money to pay a part of the principal and interest on revenue bonds issued to finance the construction.

House Bill 14:

Provides extra appropriations for public construction. The bill calls for an additional $100 million, with almost all the money going to repair and maintenance projects at the state public schools and University of Hawai'i system.

House Bill 15:

Establishes an "emergency environmental work force" of unemployed workers. A $1.5 million appropriation from general funds would support a work force of 400 to 450 people. The workers will help isolate dengue fever and exterminate exotic plants, frogs and insects. Only workers who lost their jobs after Sept. 11 would be eligible.

House Bill 16:

Relaxes competitive bidding requirements on smaller public contracts and calls for temporary preference for Hawai'i residents in the bidding process. The government would treat more contracts as "small purchases," a procedure that streamlines the contract process. Until June 30, 2002, the government will give preference to state-licensed contractors with at least 75 percent of their employees who have lived in Hawai'i for six months or more.

House Bill 17:

Lets the governor declare an "economic emergency" until April 30, 2002. This toned-down bill lets the governor suspend state laws to enact many of the provisions provided for in other bills passed in the special session.

It also lets him suspend, waive or defer rent or concession payments to the state, if the renters or companies have suffered a certain level of losses since Sept. 11. Finally, the bill makes life easier for lessees of state land. If a business loses its lease due to default during the "economic emergency," it will not affect the renewal process. Normally, people who have defaulted and had their leases cancelled are not eligible to renew their leases.