Democratic candidates argue over tax hikes

Neil Abercrombie
Neil Abercrombie
Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Tom Masterson
Tom Masterson

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Touting their plans for business, agriculture and the economy, Democratic candidates for governor Mufi Hannemanm and Neil Abercrombie pitched their platforms to about a hundred members of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.

"The very basis of what people's votes are going to be is whether or not they're going to have a renewed sense of optimism. I have it. I feel it," Abercrombie told the crowd.

"You want a uniter not a divider," Hannemann said. "You want someone who's going to appeal to all interests not just a specific group of people."

Tom Masterson attended the lunch hour forum to hear the candidates in person.

"The economy is certainly important to me. I've been an international business man for 35 years. I want to know what we're doing internationally and innovation wise," he said.

A feisty exchange came over the General Excise Tax.

Hannemann went on the offensive.

"When he was in the Congress there wasn't a tax increase that he didn't like or vote for. Look at his history," he said.

Abercrombie said Hannemann only promises to not raise the tax initially.

"I'm against raising the GE tax without equivocation. You swim in the water you're in," Abercrombie said.

The candidates talked about healthcare and health insurance.

Hannemann pointed to his city process for permitting, saying it will work on the state level. Abercrombie countered the system is out of date.

The political rivals fielded questions from a moderator but could not question each other.

"I think I'm hedging a little more one way than the other based on what I've heard. But I still want to mull it over," said Paula Sumimoto-Matsushima.

One more face off is scheduled for September 14 on Maui.

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