1,000 Desks Donated to South African Schools on Behalf of the Worldwide Voyage

Hokulea crewmembers and a delegation of Hawaii students, teachers and families visited St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School near Cape Town, South Africa to present 50 Tutudesks featuring artwork inspired by the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. An additional 1,000 desks will be delivered to township schools in the Durban, South Africa area in early 2016. The donation of desks will support the campaign’s goal to provide 20 million desks to 20 million children by 2020.

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“These Tutudesks will help students have space at home to do their homework. Even in the   classroom, it’s going to help teachers do individual work with each child,” said Vuyiswa Lebenya, principal of St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School.

Following the presentation, Ke Ka o Makalii – a group comprised of teachers and students from Kamehameha Schools and Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School – offered hula and mele celebrating the past voyages of Hokulea. Students from St. Mary’s then followed with their own local songs and dances before inviting the Hawaii delegation to participate.

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“When I saw them dancing together, that is what global peace looks like. It’s finding that rhythm that’s down deep inside that allows us to be completely the same, to be respectful and caring of everyone,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Hokulea crewmembers and the Hawaii delegation are in South Africa this week as part of Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

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The Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign provides portable school desks to children in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 95 million school children do not have the benefit of a classroom desk. This shortage affects the development of literacy and overall academic performance.

Hawaii Loses Ground on Business Tax Climate

In a nationwide survey of state tax structures, Hawaii continues its stagnant economic performance, ranking 31st out of 50 states in the 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index. The study, released today by the Tax Foundation, compares five different metrics in a state’s tax system to calculate the state rankings–Corporate Taxes, Individual Income Taxes, Sales Tax, Unemployment Insurance Tax, and Property Tax.
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While other states have enacted reforms that have improved their rankings and encouraged investment in their state, Hawaii has done little to improve its tax climate. This year’s ranking represents a minor slide, down from a ranking of 30 in the 2015 Index. The worst performance came in the category of Individual Income Tax (#37), while the best was in Corporate Tax (#10). The dichotomy demonstrates that economic stimulus requires a broader approach than focusing solely on corporate taxes and tax credits.

Individual Income Tax is actually one of the best indicators for how business-friendly a state truly is. A number of businesses, including sole proprietorships, S corporations, and partnerships, report their business income via the individual income tax code. It can also affect the labor pool as high income taxes chase potential workers to friendlier states. In order to encourage small business and entrepreneurship, taxes like the individual income tax and the general excise tax need to be reexamined.

“This ranking simply demonstrates that the leadership in our state is running out of ideas when it comes to encouraging investment and growth,” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grasssroot Institute. “The current scheme does nothing to help small businesses, but only contributes to the high cost of living and the state’s brain drain. We need reforms that will make Hawaii more affordable–to live, to do business in, and to work in. That starts with real, effective tax reform that will help keep people and jobs in the state.”

The 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index can be found at http://taxfoundation.org/