Hawaii Film Blog

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tech Comm'ty: Don't Denigrate Act 221

There goes Sean Hao and the Honolulu Advertiser causin' trouble again. The business writer along with his employer inspired the ire of Hawaii's local high-tech community with a story and an editorial last week on the high cost of Act 221 (the state's high-tech business investment tax credit).

In yesterday's Letters to the Editor, the Advertiser published a portion of a long letter from local high-tech advocates and organizations, led by the Hawaii Technology Trade Association (HTTA), a private-sector membership organization that represents a variety of local tech sectors, including IT, Telecomm, Software, Biotech, Medical Tech, and Ocean/Earth/Space Sciences. The letter expressed disappointment that both Hao's article and the editorial cause "unnecessary confusion and unwarranted suspicions of Act 221/215."

The reputation of Act 221/215 has been marred by controversy and confusion (much of it film-related) throughout its short four-year lifespan. But, as they state in their letter to the editor, tech community members believe the loopholes that left the original Act 221 vulnerable to abuse have been resolved by revisions made three years later in Act 215. They further stress that the tax credit is key to growing Hawaii's high-tech economy: "Before Act 221, it was very difficult for promising companies to get start-up funding here in Hawai'i. Before Act 221, companies often had to turn to Mainland sources for their start-up funding, causing many of them to relocate closer to their investors on the Mainland. Act 221 and now its successor, Act 215, have successfully turned this situation around, allowing local start-ups to get off the ground."

We should all remember the original purpose of Act 221: to stimulate investment in local high-tech and certain performing arts companies; to create highly skilled, highly paid positions; and ultimately, to decrease the state's reliance on tourism by developing a sustainable, viable local tech/media industry (hopefully accompanied by progressive cultural and communal changes).

>> Letters to the Editor [Hnl Advertiser, 8/29/05]
>> Technology credits total more than $108 million [Hnl Advertiser, 8/23/05]
>> What's the payoff for all those tax credits? [Hnl Advertiser Editorial, 8/24/05]
>> Hawaii Revised Statutes ยง235-110.9: High technology business investment tax credit ["Act 221/215"]

Act 221 = $108M So Far
Numerology: 221, 215, 235-110.9
Elegy for Film Bills and Mahalo

>> Local law firm sued over movie deal [Hnl Advertiser, 10/23/02]
>> Two films to get state high-tech tax credits [Hnl Advertiser, 1/17/03]
>> Act 221 gives movie producers big financial bounce [Pacific Business News, 1/17/03]
>> Lingle seeks reformsto high-tech tax credit [AP/Hnl Star-Bulletin, 4/6/03]
>> Audits find tech-tax abuse [Hnl Star-Bulletin, 3/23/04]
>> Big funds eyeing local tech firms [Hnl Star-Bulletin, 5/29/04]

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