STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1245
RE: H.B. No. 1763
Honorable Colleen Hanabusa
President of the Senate
Twenty-Fifth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2009
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred H.B. No. 1763, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO THE HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to replace the Hawaii Tourism Authority with a newly established Department of Tourism.
Specifically, this measure:
(1) Establishes the new Department of Tourism;
(2) Transfers all of the functions of the Hawaii Tourism Authority to the Department of Tourism;
(3) Transfers the tourism functions of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to the Department of Tourism and renames the former agency the "Department of Business and Economic Development";
(4) Transfers the moneys in the convention center enterprise fund, tourism emergency trust fund, and tourism special fund into corresponding funds administered by the Department of Tourism; and
(5) Repeals the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Your Committee received five written comments on this measure. Written comments may be reviewed on the Legislature's website.
Your Committee finds that tourism is the primary economic engine that drives the State's economy. The influx of tourism related moneys that flow into the State not only sustains the industry, but also supports a significant percentage of all employment in Hawaii. However, the role of tourism in state government has been less than focused and, on occasion -- neglected, by the two state agencies charged with its administration. The inability of this bifurcated relationship to provide the necessary leadership to manage the State's greatest fiscal asset has resulted in lamentable outcomes that have threatened the very core of the tourism industry.
To rectify this problem, this measure proposes to establish tourism as a separate administrative department that is equal to all other state departments. A state cabinet level designation will provide tourism the recognition it requires to command the authority needed to effectively sustain and maintain a healthy tourism industry.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Ways and Means that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1763, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, and recommends that it pass Third Reading.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,
DONNA MERCADO KIM, Chair