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West Maui Proposed as State’s First Medical Enterprise Zone

Posted January 27, 2011, 10:30 AM HST Updated January 29, 2011, 02:09 AM HST
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By Robin G. Pilus

A hearing on HB116 relating to Medical Enterprise Zones is scheduled for Friday January 28, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

West Maui panoramic, Photo by Wendy Osher.

The bill specifically designates West Maui as Hawaii’s first Medical Enterprise Zone.

A Medical Enterprise Zone program initially consisting of a single pilot project is proposed to “minimize impact on the State and allow officials an opportunity to evaluate the zone’s impact without negatively affecting existing income streams.”

Hawaii is home to the nation’s fourth largest public hospital system, Hawaii Health Systems Corporation (HHSC).

Enterprise Zones are designated areas in which private businesses are exempt from certain taxes and given other economic advantages to stimulate private industry and community development and employ residents.

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According to the bill, demographics, education, lukewarm business and tax environments, as well as Hawaii’s unique and geographically isolated location have contributed significantly to a chronic shortage of medical and research facilities and health care professionals in the State.

The purpose of this act is “to encourage the establishment of modern medical and research facilities within the State and attract medical, research, and health care professionals to work in Hawaii.”

The bill was introduced in part by Rep. Angus McKelvey of West Maui who joined in introducing a similar bill in 2009 calling for a 7‑year pilot project in his district.

Public comment or testimony can be submitted at testimony for HB116.

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