'New Beginning' highlights priorities in tourism, agriculture, technology
During her successful campaign to become Hawai'i's first Republican governor in 40 years, Linda Lingle repeatedly urged voters to find details of her governmental plan in a 28-page booklet entitled "A New Beginning for Hawai'i." Here are excerpts from the chapter on "Strengthening the Economy:"
"Hawai'i has a reputation for treating business as an opponent instead of a partner. Even worse, government has rewarded a favored few with generous state contracts while making it difficult for many small businesses to survive. This must change.
We need to adopt proven, successful economic principles such as competitive markets and lower taxes. This will create more and better employment opportunities for the people of Hawai'i.
A strong economy benefits everyone. It means families will be able to realize their dreams of home ownership, a first-class public school system, a college education for their children and a retirement that allows them to live with dignity and remain in Hawai'i. It also means that families can be reunited as young people return home from the Mainland to quality jobs that provide real opportunity for the future."
"State government needs to end its decades-long, love-hate relationship with the visitor industry and embrace what is clearly the foundation of our modern economy, while at the same time developing new industries. This core industry should continue receiving dedicated funding for marketing and be held accountable for results. It should also receive the enthusiastic support of state government.
I will create a cabinet-level position, directly accountable to the governor, that will be responsible for ensuring the sustained health and diversification of the visitor industry."
"Agriculture is a vital component of our economy that has evolved from large-scale plantation operations growing a single crop to smaller, entrepreneurial farms growing products that fill niche markets both locally and globally. Diversified agriculture produces exports that bring dollars to Hawai'i. The value of these products has nearly doubled in the last 20 years. Agriculture also serves as a valuable backdrop for the tourism industry, and is made up of people who believe strongly in stewardship of our land and water resources.
All state agencies, including schools, prisons and hospitals should be encouraged to buy Hawaiian products.
The University of Hawai'i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources must be adequately funded to study export products, markets, disease prevention and processing techniques; and the Hawai'i Agricultural Research Center must receive matching funds. Hawai'i can, and should, be a world leader in agricultural science.
The state must maintain vital irrigation systems, before they deteriorate, such as the Lower Hamakua Ditch on the Island of Hawai'i.
We must improve consolidation facilities at harbors and airports.
We will work to remove trade barriers to other states and countries."
"High technology is an important way to strengthen and diversify Hawai'i's economy. ... High technology is environmentally friendly and it has potential applications for improving every existing industry in Hawai'i.
Act 221 provides incentives for high technology investments that are considered among the best incentives in the nation, and yet few people or businesses outside of Hawai'i are aware of it. I propose an aggressive marketing program for Act 221.
Support effective funding levels for the University of Hawai'i's activities, in basic and applied research, technical assistance programs, and technology transfer efforts to strengthen and increase the economic benefits derived from partnerships with local and global businesses."
"As governor I will use tax incentives and other government support to attract investment in both new and existing industries, and to communities with high levels of unemployment. These industries include:
Entertainment, including the film industry, and Hawaiian music and dance.
Biotechnology, crop research and development, seed production and pharmaceutical products. We must take full advantage of our outstanding scholars and researchers at the University of Hawai'i, as well as good weather and year-round, multiple growing seasons that can make Hawai'i a leader in agricultural research.
Healthcare, medical research, and medical education focused on Asia and the Pacific Rim. Healthcare related tourism is potentially a huge market, which Hawai'i is well-positioned to tap. We need to accelerate that process.
The sports industry should be a priority. We need to attract more world-class competitions to Hawai'i as we have with the Honolulu Marathon, the Pro Bowl and Hula Bowl, various golf tournaments, and the Ironman Triathlon."
"As governor, I will also work to:
Reduce the price of gasoline by increasing competition, removing restrictions on where gas stations can be built, and repealing other laws that drive gas prices.
Remove barriers to business and job growth by working cooperatively with the counties to cut unnecessary regulations and consolidate the permit system into a real, 'one-stop shop.' The goal should be informed decisions rather than mindless paper shuffling.
End the 4.16 percent excise tax on medical care and products. It is bad public policy to tax people who are sick or injured. This tax puts the heaviest burden on our senior citizens and others on fixed incomes.
Re-institute the food tax credit to help reduce the tax burden on families.
Support university-led research by assisting in obtaining the millions of dollars available in federal grants to create new business and jobs. Work closely with the University of Hawai'i's President Dobelle and the Bush Administration on obtaining those grants.
Encourage the Bush administration to re-establish the importance of the East-West Center in Pacific/Asia relations and economic development."