Aloha everyone. Thank you for coming by. Today, we’re just about at the half-way point of the legislative session and we’ve done marijuana stores, gambling, foie gras and now is a great time to get re-focused on what this legislative session has to be about and that’s getting our economy back on track and creating new jobs all across the state.
The Legislature did take some action over the last few days to reduce the increase in the unemployment insurance tax. We continue to believe that it wasn’t a bold enough action, that they needed to reduce it by a larger amount over a longer period of time and we continue to urge them to go back and take another look at it and bring additional relief to businesses.
This could be the difference between a business staying in business or going out of business. It could be the difference between keeping an employee on the payroll or having to let them go. It could be the difference between hiring a new employee or foregoing hiring a new person.
Those are all important results of legislative action.
I think it’s important to draw that linkage between what goes on in the Legislature and what the impact is on the broader economy and on families and individuals all across the state. So I would ask the Legislature to take another look at this, to increase the amount of savings for businesses in the amount of unemployment insurance taxes.
What I believe the rest of the session needs to get focused on is job creation. We have several steps that we are taking that don’t require legislation, which I’ll mention in a minute; but we have some that do require legislation.
The first one is the hotel renovation and construction tax credit. We feel that’s an important way to get many of our construction workers back to work in the immediate term.
We also have a proposal for a job creation tax credit that would apply to all kinds of businesses in the state. It would apply to businesses of 50 or fewer employees. It would be for three years and it would relieve businesses of having to pay their withholdings. So they would be able to get a tax credit in the amount of what the withholding would be. This would be a substantial savings to them. So if you’re a business contemplating hiring someone, this would give you an advantage if you do it now, rather than wait until later.
The third legislative proposal we would like them to take some quick action on are the HCEI (Hawai