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Legislative message from Sen. Green

Dear Friends,

This was a challenging year at the state legislature as we grappled with the $1.2 billion budget shortfall due to the nationwide recession. As I made decisions this year that will affect our community and our state, I relied heavily on your ideas and concerns, your values and priorities.

I am keenly aware of the daily economic struggles that we in Hawaii face, simply trying to provide for our families, pay our mortgages and save a few dollars for our children’s future.

This is why I took a firm stand this session against any new, regressive taxes that would make it even more difficult for Hawaii’s economy to recover from this recession.

I voted NO on the Barrel Tax and other taxes which would hit working families hardest, particularly on the neighbor islands.

As I reported to you before the session, my top priority this year was getting our students fully back into the classroom as quickly as possible and restoring all cuts in instructional time. ‘Furlough Fridays’ were a terrible mistake which should never have happened, and I am very pleased to report to you that the legislature has designated $67 million to end teacher furloughs.

I promise that I will do everything in my power to make sure our students are never cheated out of precious education days again.

My other top priorities this year were to preserve our hospital system and to make our streets and highways safer. We were able to achieve both goals this year in spite of the tough economic climate, though I continue to believe that we must reform the financial structure of our state hospital system to guarantee its long term survival, and I will work toward that goal in the coming years.

This week we passed the Interlock law, a significant drunk driving measure that will make our roads safer. As an ER physician and father, I know the importance of safe roads and strong legal deterrents to drunk driving, and in the coming years I will keep doing everything I can to make Hawaii’s drunk driving laws the toughest in the nation.

The legislature has also appropriated over $225 million for projects aimed at improving West Hawaii’s highways, airport, and harbor which will help stimulate our economy, provide needed jobs, and improve transportation.

Finally, I want to thank you for your letters, thoughts, and advice during these tough times. I am confident that Hawaii has begun the process of recovery from the economic recession and we can all look forward to better days ahead.

Sincerely,

Sen. Josh Green

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