Representative Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) tonight expressed cautious optimism about the State of Hawai’i’s economic future today following the Council on Revenues’ announcement of a projected $44 million increase in general-fund revenues for this fiscal year.

“The Council on Revenues’ projected increase will certainly help the state close this year’s budget gap and take a little of the pressure off the state budget in coming years. By ensuring we maintain fiscal restraint and place further emphasis on stimulating our small businesses, we have a very strong case that damaging tax increases will be unnecessary,” Ward said.

Prior to today’s announcement, the state faced a $71 million deficit through June, 2011. The additional $44 million will not only impact the shortfall in the current budget, but it will likely reduce the $772 million deficit the state is facing in 2012-2013. However, this increase will still leave the State of Hawai’i with a substantial gap the legislature will have work through this session.

“While I am encouraged by this 1% increase, we are still facing a budget crisis that the Governor, the Legislature and the people of Hawai’i will have to work hard to overcome. There are many tough choices ahead of us, but I know we will have to be fiscally responsible and make tough choices that will help us build a sustainable economy.  While we have a stronger outlook, the current economic crisis is not over,” Ward said.



GOP legislators knocked off the air? – Volcanic Ash by David Shapiro

GOP legislators knocked off the air?

Catching up on the mail bag, Republicans in the Legislature are up in arms about an apparent decision by Democratic legislators to shut down a room in the Capitol used by Olelo to film lawmakers talking about what’s going on with the Legislature.

According to Rep. Cynthia Thielen, Democrats and Republicans alike took advantage of the room on the 4th floor to communicate with their constituents, but that Sen. Clayton Hee, the new Judiciary chairman, raised questions about the room when he saw a group of Republicans coming out.

Thielen said the next thing Republicans knew, Hee was planning to take over the room, which Democrats say is needed for hearings.

Thielen said she and House Minority Leader Gene Ward will ask the House leadership to provide studio space for Olelo.

Said Ward, “Denying us the studio at the Capitol to inform the people of what is going on in the square building, after we’ve become a one-newspaper town with a collapsed number of TV stations, puts democracy in serious danger.”

With Republicans down to eight in the House and one in the Senate, Democrats would be well-advised to avoid looking petty and go out of their way to be sure the minority has a fair chance to make its voice heard.

Rep. Marumoto and Senator Sam Slom discuss Gensiro Kawamoto’s Properties

News articles report that Japanese billionaire Gensiro Kawamoto wants to establish an art museum on his Kahala Avenue properties. Representative Barbara Marumoto (R-19th Dist. Kaimuki/Waialae/Kahala) called for a discussion of this issue with the community.
“I question whether one can start a museum in a residentially-zoned area without a variance. I am not certain Kahala residents want such a facility in their neighborhood,” said Representative Marumoto.
Representative Barbara Marumoto and Senator Sam Slom discuss the community issue.

House Republican Caucus Merry Christmas 2010

In honor of Hawaii 5-0, the State House of Representatives Christmas tree was dedicated to the fictional Kukui High School alumni members by the creative team of the Chief Clerks office. The Republican House of representatives caucus joins the celebration and wishes all viewers a blessed holiday, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.