Bill Text: HI HB9 | 2021 | Regular Session | Introduced

Bill Title: Relating To Economic Diversification.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 13-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-01-27 - Referred to ECD, FIN, referral sheet 1 [HB9 Detail]

Download: Hawaii-2021-HB9-Introduced.html


H.B. NO.



















     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that the virus known as SARS-CoV-2 causes a disease named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which spread globally and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020.  Upon reaching Hawaii's shores, the COVID-19 outbreak disrupted the local economy, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents unemployed, underemployed, or facing financial hardship.  Low-wage workers were disproportionately harmed by Hawaii's economic downturn, which worsened their financial precarity and left thousands of working families unable to pay for food, housing, electricity, and other necessities.

     The legislature further finds that at the peak of Hawaii's economic downturn, the State experienced levels of unemployment not seen since the Great Depression.  For example, the unemployment rate for the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina metropolitan area skyrocketed to thirty-five per cent in April 2020, nearly ten per cent higher than the national unemployment rate at the peak of the Great Depression and the highest of any metropolitan area in the United States at the time, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

     The legislature additionally finds that Hawaii's high pandemic-related unemployment rate is largely a result of the State's dependence on tourism to drive economic growth.  Roughly twenty-five per cent of jobs in Hawaii are connected to tourism, according to the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.  As the number of airline passengers dwindled from approximately thirty thousand per day in 2019 to a few hundred in the spring of 2020 because of public health concerns and quarantine restrictions on visitors, job losses in the tourism industry accelerated, while tax revenue derived from tourism-related economic activity plummeted, resulting in an estimated $2,000,000,000 budget shortfall as of August 2020.

     The legislature also finds that it is in the best interest of Hawaii's people to ensure economic stability at all times, including during times of crisis.  Yet, in May of 2020, the state chief economist estimated that the tourism industry would not recover to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity for at least five to six years.  Therefore, to guarantee the financial well-being of Hawaii's residents and the continuation of essential government services, it is necessary to replace the islands' prolonged dependence on tourism with sustainable alternatives to generate fiscal prosperity.

     The purpose of this Act is to establish a Hawaii 2030 economic diversification task force and a Hawaii 2030 economic diversification plan to advance the State's goal of creating a sustainable and stable economy for Hawaii's people.

     SECTION 2.  (a)  There is established a Hawaii economic diversification task force to develop a plan to diversify the State's economy by the year 2030.  The task force shall consist of the following members:

     (1)  A member from the senate, to be appointed by the senate president;

     (2)  A member from the house of representatives, to be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives;

     (3)  A representative of the governor, to be appointed by the governor;

     (4)  The director of business, economic development, and tourism or the director's designee;

     (5)  The director of health or the director's designee;

     (6)  The chairperson of the board of agriculture or the chairperson's designee;

     (7)  The chairperson of the board of land and natural resources or the chairperson's designee;

     (8)  The superintendent of education or the superintendent's designee;

     (9)  The chief energy officer of the State of Hawaii or the chief energy officer's designee;

    (10)  The State auditor or the auditor's designee;

    (11)  The director of the office of planning or the director's designee;

    (12)  The chief executive officer of the office of Hawaiian affairs, or the chief executive officer's designee;

    (13)  The executive director of the Hawaii technology development corporation or the executive director's designee;

    (14)  A member from each county, to be appointed by the mayor of each respective county;

    (15)  Three representatives from labor unions, to be appointed by the governor;

    (16)  A representative from a nonprofit, public interest organization specializing in advocacy for environmental and conservation issues;

    (17)  A representative from a nonprofit, public interest organization specializing in advocacy for children;

    (18)  A representative from a nonprofit, interfaith organization in Hawaii;

    (19)  A representative from a nonprofit, public interest organization that advocates on behalf of low-income individuals and families in Hawaii on civil legal issues of statewide importance; and

    (20)  A representative from a nonprofit, public interest organization that advocates on behalf of issues relating to sustainable agriculture and food security.

     (b)  The task force shall select its chairperson from among its members.

     (c)  The members of the task force shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for expenses, including travel expenses, necessary for the performance of their duties.

     (d)  The task force shall review, solicit input on, and establish the Hawaii 2030 economic diversification plan, which shall serve as a guide to the State on methods and policies for the diversification of Hawaii's economy.  In establishing the Hawaii 2030 economic diversification plan, the task force shall consider:

     (1)  Possibilities for diversifying Hawaii's economy to minimize the adverse fiscal impact of disruptions in the tourism industry, including investments in clean energy, sustainable agriculture, environmental conservation and restoration, public health, technological innovation, and film production;

     (2)  Strategies for reallocating public and private sector funding from tourism to other areas of economic opportunity;

     (3)  Means of expanding access to educational and vocational training necessary to enable Hawaii's workforce to meet the demands of economic diversification;

     (4)  Development of a framework to ensure that the diversification of Hawaii's economy supports other State goals and initiatives, including the goals of becoming 100 per cent reliant on renewable energy and increasing statewide food security;

     (5)  Means to increase community engagement in a public discussion to achieve a consensus on the State's preferred future; and

     (6)  Means to coordinate actions needed to sustain a diversified and sustainable economy that provides a high quality of life to the people of Hawaii.

     (e)  The task force may develop criteria or benchmarks as necessary to assist in the development of measuring incremental compliance with task force recommendations enacted into law or adopted as policies by governmental agencies and in guiding budgetary priorities.

     (f)  The task force may participate in and collaborate with any other task force for purposes of this Act.

     (g)  The task force shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2023.  The report shall be designated as the Hawaii 2030 economic diversification plan, which shall serve as a guideline for funding and implementation by state and county agencies.

     (h)  The auditor, with the assistance of the office of planning, shall review the plan every ten years after its initial submission and report to the legislature.

     (i)  The task force shall cease to exist on June 30, 2023.

     SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.








Report Title:

Hawaii 2030 Economic Diversification Task Force; Establishment; Hawaii 2030 Economic Diversification Plan



Establishes the Hawaii 2030 economic diversification task force to develop a plan to diversify the State's economy by 2030.  Requires the task force and the auditor to submit reports to the legislature.




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