Without a doubt Act 221 in its current form has been a factor in a large part of recent high technology industry growth in the county. Maui County’s technology industry now has over $120 million dollars in yearly revenues, $40 million in payroll, and employs an estimated 1,000 Maui residents. These jobs pay an estimated median of $ 60,000 per year, and are established, reputable businesses involved in genuine research & development.

It is interesting to note that dual use technology companies, a niche strength on Maui, are particularly satisfied with Act 221 in its current form. Act 221 allows these companies to grow by leveraging federal money received from contracts, along with Act 221 money. Combined, these funds can be spent on growing the company and expansion rather than contract delivery.

Act 221 is one of the most effective incentives Hawaii provides to high technology businesses, and removing the benefit will hurt, if not cripple the growth of the industry in Hawaii.

Thanks in no small part to Act 221 we expect steady growth in our diversified economy. Act 221 has aided MEDB significantly in getting the attention of potential phase in technology businesses located outside of Hawaii, and has allowed current employers to use saved capital to grow in workforce size, and attract outside investors.

Act 221 is working as intended. It will hurt Hawaii significantly if the law is changed at this early stage. I urge you to keep the law in its current state regarding high technology activity.

”’Jeanne Unemori Skog is President & CEO of the Maui Economic Development Board.”’

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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards.