HI guv's high-tech plan meets with approval

Republican's plan includes investing retirement dollars in state's high-tech companies and start-ups.

Hawaii's Gov. Linda Lingle is pushing her $30 million package to transform the state's economy to high-tech with a "personal marketing blitz" with radio, board meetings and legislative hearings - and the state legislature seems willing to give her what she wants, AP reports.

"You can feel the momentum is building for this," Lingle said. "You don't just come out and talk about it and let it go. You have to keep it up through the entire session."

"My personal appearance is meant to underscore both to legislators and to the public how important I feel these measures are," Lingle said. "We're trying every way possible, the same way you would try to market an idea for anything."

She's also willing to make adjustments to the plan. One of the diciest proposals is one to use $100 million from the state Employees' Retirement System to invest in Hawaii start-ups. Listening to objections that the plan would jeopardize the fund's tax status, she offered an amendment to the proposal to make it more palatable.

Democrats, who, with an 80 percent majority in both legislative houses are critical to success, are supporting most of the Republican governor's plans.

"Her package is resonating in the House because people agree with the concept and the ideas," said Majority Leader Rep. Kirk Caldwell (D, Manoa). "At the same time, the question has to be asked: What kinds of jobs are we creating? We don't see that in the innovation package."


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