HONOLULU (KHON2) – Major budget cuts are slated for the Hawaii Tourism Authority as lawmakers look to reorganize the department.
After much back and forth, lawmakers agreed on a bill that would cut HTA’s budget from $79 million to $60 million.
“We will be transferring research from HTA over to DBEDT, because we feel that it would be more efficient for the state and less duplicate,” said Rep. Sean Quinlan.
While HTA is in charge of marketing Hawaii to the world, it also funds a number of local programs, many centered on Hawaiian culture.
The bill agreed on Thursday evening will preserve funding for those programs.
“We’re going to be preserving the four pillars of HTA and the cultural mission as well as keeping all cultural positions.”
Critics of the bill say budget cuts will undo years of work to bring Kamaaina and visitors together.
Lawmakers will hold another vote on the measure before it heads to the governor for final consideration.