September 14, 2001
Release #2001-13
Contacts: Senator Fred Hemmings
Phone: 587-8388/262-6372



Senate Minority Floor Leader Fred Hemmings (District 25, Kailua-Waimanalo), recently returned to Hawaii after being stranded on the mainland, and issued the following statement today:

"In the wake of Tuesday morning's horror, the United States and the world were profoundly changed forever. I observed first-hand the people of America stunned, filled with subtle rage, and united like never before. We in Hawaii are dramatically affected by what happened and we need to take definite steps by continuing to pay respect to those who perished at the Pentagon and in New York City, we must pay homage to the heroes involved in the rescue attempts, and we must heal spiritual wounds.

Congress is already initiating action to deal with this terrible problem at the national level. Here in Hawaii, we cannot let events solely dictate the course of action. We must make our actions dictate the course of events, where possible. We must start planning for a possible huge economic downturn. It would be unwise to be unprepared. Spending may slow down—leisure travelers may curtail their vacations—people are scared. Therefore, the economic impact may be severe.

Many questions regarding our economy need to be answered: for instance, what is the economic impact of the closing of Ala Moana Center for one day? We also must assume business will slow on an ongoing basis at all shopping centers and retail outlets in Hawaii. What impact will a possible large and extended slowdown in the travel industry have on our state?

It would be appropriate for the governor to convene an emergency meeting of the Council of Revenues. Prudent leadership means planning ahead. The Council of Revenues must closely examine the impact of this cataclysmic event on the Hawaiian economy and adjust their revenue projections as need be. The leadership of the legislature in a bipartisan manner should consider convening an emergency session of the legislature to deal with the potential downturn in the Hawaiian economy. It is time for us to work together.

We must also institute legislative initiatives to work with the executive branch of government to reduce spending immediately, if need be. The Legislature must work with the executive branch in determining spending priorities. We must save money and prepare for tough economic times ahead. Tough decisions must be made to immediately modify state spending rather than leaving it solely to the discretion of the executive branch of government.

We must hope for the best, but must be prepared for the worst. Out of the ashes of Tuesday's horror will be a stronger America—and hopefully a better Hawaii."