The biggest thing holding back Hawaii's economy now is the cost of fuel. Japan Airlines has decided to stop flying to Kona despite the fact that the route got four percent more passengers last year. The decision was part of a bigger move to retire gas guzzlers in favor of smaller jets that aren't as thirsty.
Some airlines spend more on jet fuel than they do on payroll. It's the fuel bill that has them packing you in like sardines. The fuel bill impels them to charge you extra for meals and bags.
That's why it's a good thing that Governor Lingle vetoed a dollar-a-barrel tax on oil. We know the legislature was desperate to find revenue to prevent deeper cuts in state government. But a soft economy created the revenue shortage in the first place. It doesn't help to levy a new tax that would apply to jet fuel of all things. The solution to the revenue crisis is fueling recovery, not taxing fuel.