October 22, 2001
Contact: Rep. Galen Fox
Tel.: 586-8520


House Republicans said today that, at the opening bell of the third special session, Democrats torpedoed bipartisan efforts. They did so by purposely delaying Republican legislation, excluding Republican members from their joint legislative committee, and misrepresenting Republican opposition to granting the Governor martial law.

"One of our bills--a retail tax holiday--is obviously popular," said Rep. Barbara Marumoto. "It drew support from 65% of respondents in a weekend TV news station poll. The tax holiday is a great way to help our economy, and everybody, immediately."

Rep. Galen Fox, House Republican Leader, said the process to pass a bill takes five days. "By giving our bills no more than four days, the majority killed them without even having a committee look at them."

"We have just started the special session and already its bipartisan spirit is damaged," said Fox. "That's one reason why people don't trust government. This is a time of national crisis and the economy of the State of Hawaii has been extremely hard hit. Bipartisanship must characterize our response. We need our whole state, our whole community, pulling together," said Fox.

"We need every good idea this community can find. Democrats, acting on their own with the Governor, included Republican ideas in their package, though in a form re-written by Democrats. Their package had 17 bills, 13 approved by us, 3 others we questioned, and the bill granting the Governor martial law powers, which we vigorously oppose. To this group of 17, we added 4 for a total of 21, 13 bipartisan, 4 Democrat, 4 Republican.. One of the four Republican bills we wrote at request of the Democrats. Imagine our surprise when even this bill died," said Fox.

Besides the Republican bill to create a week-long general excise tax holiday on retail purchases under $100 each, other Republican bills would have temporarily lifted the 4% excise tax on food sales, provided income tax credits for commercial construction and remodeling (the bill Democrats asked Republicans to submit), and de-politicized the contract awarding process for an emergency school repair and maintenance program.