By Derrick DePledge
House and Senate negotiators were unable to complete a conference draft of the manufacturing tax credit bill because Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, the lead Senate negotiator, declined to attend.
House Majority Leader Scott Saiki had informed Dela Cruz that his land exchange bill could die in the House if he did not show up to the conference committee. The House on Tuesday postponed action on the land exchange bill until Thursday, the last day of session.
Kim said that when she raised the issue Wednesday with House leaders, she was told that some lawmakers had other objections to the land exchange bill. The bill would explore a potential exchange of state land with Castle and Cooke for some 20,000 acres of Dole Food Co. land between Wahiawa and the North Shore.
House and Senate leaders had agreed Monday to extend conference committee negotiations beyond last Friday's deadline for four bills, including the manufacturing tax credit bill. The criteria, sources say, was that negotiators had to have reached agreements -- and obtained clearance from the finance chairs -- before the clock ran out on Friday.
Kim said that when she saw the four bills, she presumed that there was an agreement on the manufacturing tax credit bill, and authorized the posting of the conference committee extension notice.
But Dela Cruz said he did not sign off on the manufacturing tax credit bill. He also told senators in private caucus on Monday that he would not attend the conference committee. Dela Cruz believed that other bills -- including a transit-oriented development bill -- should also have been brought back.
Kim said that she should not have agreed to put the manufacturing tax credit bill on the extension notice without first speaking with Dela Cruz.
"It was my fault. I should have talked with him, and found out, and then not agree to put it on the agenda," she said.
*Update: The House killed the land exchange bill on Thursday.