Gov. Neil Abercrombie appeared on KITV Tuesday morning and addressed a Civil Beat Fact Check.

In his first State of the State Address Monday he proposed five new taxes or fees. This appeared in direct contrast to a campaign promise he made not to impose “any” new taxes.

KITV reporter Mahealani Richardson asked the governor about his stand on taxes pre and post election.

“We’ve got to get to the Civil Beat story,” Richardson said. “The Civil Beat, civilbeat.com is reporting that you made a campaign promise to not raise taxes but now you’re looking like you’re proposing tax increases for several things, including soda so are you going back on this campaign promise?”

Abercrombie responded, saying he had only been referring to the GET, not all taxes.

“No,” he said. “What this involved, if you go back in the context, at that time we were talking about the GET tax. And of course, I haven’t changed my views on that. I certainly haven’t in terms of what was projected at that time. Whether inadvertently or not, the projection of the deficit was considerably less at that time and I said, through reordering and re-prioritizing and in conjunction with the GET tax, I didn’t think it needed to be done and you’ll notice that I haven’t proposed that we raise the GET tax.”

Abercrombie’s explicit statement about taxes came in an October 2010 press conference, where he unveiled his “Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.” At that time, he issued a press release and a 12-page document, both of which said no new taxes would be needed.

“Our plan does not increase taxes,” the press release said. The document said he could carry out his agenda without raising taxes.

At the press conference itself, he said, “We will not be raising any taxes.”

The candidate Abercrombie never mentioned the word GET. What he talked about – repeatedly – was how his administration would take advantage of current revenues.

The press release from that day appears below. Note the last paragraph.


A screenshot of a page from the “Recovery and Reinvestment Plan”, which Abercrombie was unveiling at the press conference, appears below. This is the spot where he discussed taxes in the plan.


Civil Beat’s original Fact Check did not attempt to present all of the governor’s statements regarding taxes from that day, where he discussed financial issues for about half an hour. But given his denial of his promise, here are other statements he made that day on the issue. Again, the GET never comes up.

“An Abercrombie/Schatz administration is going to re-prioritize, reorder, refurbish government in a way that’s going to see to it that we take what we have – the dollars that we have, the programs that we have, the people that we have – and we’re going to make it work.”

Abercrombie was then asked a question by a reporter:

Reporter: “You’re not seeking new dollars, new taxes, anything like that. Then what are you going to cut or shrink in order to pay for these new programs?

Abercrombie replied:

“We are going to be maximizing dollars that are not being utilized right now. We’re going to leverage dollars into the system that we have right now in order to see to it that not only can we pay for what we have right now, in terms of personnel, in terms of programs, but we’re going to lay the foundation for expansion.”

In another excerpt from the press conference, Abercrombie says:

“We’re going to reorient, re-prioritize and that’s what we’re going to work with. We believe there is more than sufficient funds to be able to do that in virtually every area. What it takes is a team that’s going to be able to get in there, dig in to the budget and see to it how we put our basic goals, our basic mission, our basic values, into the priorities within the dollars and revenues that we have.”

Listen to the entire news conference below. Abercrombie’s tax comment begins around 2:40 of part 1.

Part 1

Part 2