October 9, 2001
Release #2001-15
Contacts: Sen. Fred Hemmings
Phone: 587-8388/371-3577


HONOLULU—Senate Republicans recognize that the catastrophic events of Sept. 11 have created economic malaise in the state of Hawaii that not only adversely affects the economies of labor and business, but also affects state government's resources. With that in mind, Senate Republicans Sam Slom, Bob Hogue, and Fred Hemmings are calling for government leaders to tighten state spending in order to share the hardship that the workers of Hawaii and their employers are already suffering.

Many believe tax revenues will plummet. House Speaker Calvin Say recently stated that it may be not feasible to fund unemployment benefits and tax cuts for businesses, as earlier proposed.

"We must look at reducing in a systematic way the state workforce through attrition. This makes much more sense than being forced to do so later through layoffs because of a lack of funds," said Senator Hemmings (D-25 Kailua-Waimanalo).

Senator Hogue (D-24 Kaneohe-Enchanted Lake) said,  "I strongly support the idea of increasing spending that helps repair our beleaguered public schools, but I also believe it's common sense to prioritize other state purchases to slow down or curtail those programs that might not be necessary at this time."

"What we really want to emphasize to our majority party colleagues is that targeted tax cuts do not result in reduction of revenues to government. Rather, it has been proven time and again that intelligent tax cuts for consumers and businesses result in more revenue to government in that the tax cuts grow the economy," said Senator Slom (D-8 Hawaii Kai-Aina Haina).

Senate Republicans are calling on state leaders to look at ways to downsize government without layoffs and to stimulate economic development through tax cuts.

The special session of the Legislature is tentatively slated for Oct. 22.