HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Governor Linda Lingle is hoping a few of her new ideas may get thousands of people back to work. Lingle outlined her plan during a speech for the Pearlridge Rotary Club Friday.
One idea calls for the state to pay for a new hire's health insurance for the first year. It's limited to 6,450 people who are now unemployed or had their benefits run out.
This number represents what it would take to lower unemployment from seven to six percent. Lingle says this is a better option than raising the general excise tax, a bill that's being considered.
"This would be devastating to businesses and especially to the poor in our state, they'll tell you we're only raising it one percent, but that's not true, they're raising it one percentage point, so on the neighbor islands it would go from four percent to five percent," she said.
But some legislators disagree.
"We think it deserves to be considered, debated, in the context of what the other alternatives are, it's not like we went to that tax as a first idea, we've already cut, we've had the layoffs, we've had the furloughs, we've had the reduction in programs, now we need to look at how can we make lemonade out of a really bad situation," State Senator Roz Baker, who represents South and West Maui said.
Lingle's other ideas include an income tax credit for businesses, a worker training program for the unemployed and a construction tax credit.
She says these bills would work together to help bring down unemployment and keep small businesses open.