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Construction Begins on Terminal Modernization Project at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Division marked the start of construction on the Terminal Modernization Project Phase 1 at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off construction of an improved facility that will enhance the customer experience for those traveling to and from Kona.

From left to right: Ross Higashi, HDOT Deputy Director Airports Division; Chauncey Wong Yuen, Manager Kona Airport; Governor David Ige; Senator Lorraine Inouye; Frank Okimoto, Nan Inc.

The $75 million investment will focus on reorganizing the existing layout of the airport in an effort to streamline operations. Improvements will be made to the security screening area, holding rooms, concession area, and restrooms.

More than three million passengers use KOA annually. Currently, the North and South Terminals are operating as two independent terminals, requiring passengers to go through security again when exiting one terminal and entering the other. The renovation will allow passengers to freely move between terminals to promote shopping and dining in the additional retail space that will be created.

Governor David Ige speaks about the upgrades that will be made at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole.

Instead of two separate security screening stations, there will be one centralized security area. The new 6-lane passenger screening checkpoint building will expedite the processing of outbound passengers and reduce the time spent in line. Baggage screening will also undergo improvements as the new inline baggage handling system will employ an Explosive Detection System for baggage screening which will improve work efficiency for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport operations.

Additional features include new restrooms in both the public area before screening and in the terminal areas. The project also includes two covered bag drop areas for added convenience.

“The upgrades to the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport are a key component in the statewide Modernization Program,” said Gov. David Y. Ige. “Joining the two terminals will boost the airport’s operational efficiency and will offer permanent solutions that will have lasting benefits for the State of Hawaii for years to come.”

“In December 2016 we were thrilled to welcome international flights from Tokyo back to Kona and we expect passenger volumes to continue to soar,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director. “Our goal is to provide each and every passenger with an enjoyable experience which will leave a positive impression with our visitors and residents.”

From left to right: Kahu Brian Boshard, Frank Okimoto, Nan Inc., Chauncey Wong Yuen, Manager Kona Airport; Senator Lorraine Inouye; Governor David Ige; Representative Nicole Lowen; Representative Cindy Evans; Ross Higashi, HDOT Deputy Director Airports Division.

The project is scheduled to be completed within two years. The lead contractor is Nan, Inc. and the design team is led by KYA.

The Terminal Modernization Project at Kona International Airport at Keahole is part of the $2.7 billion statewide Modernization Program that is improving facilities at airports statewide.

Hawaii House Budget Includes $360.8 Million for Big Island Capital Improvement Projects

Big Island legislators secured more than $360.8 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island in the recently passed House proposed budget.

The two largest single amounts were in transportation: $89 million for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension and $64.8 million for projects at the Kona International Airport.

The budget includes a total of nearly $1.9 billion for FY2018 and $926 million for FY2019 for capital improvement projects throughout the state.

The budget bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

These numbers do not reflect numerous statewide projects, which includes work in all counties.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

GENERAL

  • $4.3 million for a new maintenance shop for the Hawaii Army National Guard at Keaukaha Mililtary Reservation
  • $5.5 million for Hawaiian Home Lands to build a Kau water system
  • $4.5 million to renovate the Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center
  • $2 million to create a telehealth unit at Hilo Medical Center
  • $850,000 to build a West Hawaii Vet’s Center
  • $500,000 for Hawaiian Home Land for development of Kaumana subdivision
  • $300,000 for repairs to state-owned roads to benefit agricultural producers
  • $300,000 to build a throw away ditch and drainage area at Puupulehu Reservoir
  • $250,000 to build a swimming are at Pohoiki

SCHOOLS

  • $7.2 million for Hilo High School to upgrade the track and field and renovate building B
  • $6 million for Waikeawaena Elementary School to renovate and expand the cafeteria
  • $3.6 million for Kealakehe High School to build a synthetic track and plan a performing arts center
  • $3.4 million for Kohala Middle School to build a play court/assembly area
  • $1.2 million for Naalehu Elementary School for covered walkways $950,000 for Hilo Intermediate School to renovate the locker rooms
  • $700,000 for Hawaii Community College, Palamanui campus for improvements for the trade and apprenticeship program and to convert a classroom to a physics lab
  • $500,000 for Pahoa Elementary School to plan a new cafeteria and administration building
  • $450,000 for Hawaii Community College, Hilo campus to reroof the automotive building
  • $400,000 for Paauilo Elementary School to renovate a the home economics classroom to meet state health standards for a certified kitchen
  • $186,000 for Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino for campus-wide repair work

TRANSPORTATION

  • $89 million for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • $64.8 million for the Kona International Airport for a new agriculture inspection station, an aircraft rescue and fire fighting center, install an emergency generator, build a federal inspection station, replace the perimeter fence, renovate the restrooms
  • $55.3 million for the Hawaii Belt Road for improvements to drainage, rockfall protection, repairs to the Umauma Stream Bridge, replace an arch-deck bridge near Papaikou, and replace Wailuku Bridge
  • $40 million for Keaau-Pahoa Road improvements and widening
  • $16.6 million for Hilo International Airport to reconstruct the aircraft aprons, improve the Arcade building, build noise attenuation dwelling at the Keaukaha subdivision, improve the ticket lobby, holdrooms, and restrooms
  • $14.3 million for Mamalahoa Highway drainage improvements, replacing Hilea Stream Bridge, replacing Ninole Bridge and guardrail and shoulder work
  • $13 million to replace the one-lane 4 mile Creek Bridge for commuters between Hilo and Puna
  • $8 million for Kawaihae Road to replace Waiaka Stream Bridge and realign the approaches
  • $3 million for Akoni Pule Highway for widening and guardrails on the Pololu Valley side of Aamakao Gulch
  • $2 million to build acceleration lanes on Highway 11
  • $2 million for guardrail and shoulder improvements on state highways
  • $1.1 million for Kawaihae North and South Small Boat Harbor for paving and drainage improvements
  • $1 million for Upolu Airport to install a security system and replace a storage shed
  • $600,000 for traffic operational improvements to existing intersections and highway facilities

Contact Information:

Representative Richard Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona) (808) 586-9605 repcreagan@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala) (808) 586-8510 repevans@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) (808) 586-6530 repsanbuenaventura@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau) (808) 586-8400 replowen@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo) (808) 586-6680 repnakashima@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Richard Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano) (808) 586-6120 reponishi@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Chris Todd (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea) (808) 586-8480 reptodd@capitol.hawaii.gov

Hawaii Woman Writes Two Bogus Checks Totaling $147,350 to Pay Taxes

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that on March 13, 2017, Waianae resident Phyllis Chun was charged with two counts of negotiating a worthless instrument. Ms. Chun mailed two worthless checks to the State Department of Taxation in the amounts of $132,148.81 and $15,201.94.

Attorney General Doug Chin

Attorney General Chin said, “I thank the Tax Department’s investigators for discovering these acts and bringing them to our department to prosecute.”

The misdemeanor charges against Ms. Chun are brought under section 708-857 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. They are punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine for each count.

Ms. Chun, age 56, is scheduled to make an initial appearance in Honolulu District Court on March 31, 2017.

Ms. Chun is presumed innocent unless and until she is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

DBEDT Recruiting Hawaii Companies for 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show

For the sixth consecutive year, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) is promoting Hawaii-made products through a special Hawaii Pavilion at the autumn 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show (TIGS).

During Sept. 6-8, 2017, at the Tokyo Big Sight venue, the Hawaii Pavilion will be home base for up to 70 Hawaii companies seeking to export locally made gift products.  TIGS is the largest international trade show in Japan with more than 4,100 exhibitors showcasing personal gifts, consumer goods and decorative accessories.  Show organizers anticipate more than 200,000 buyers, wholesalers and distributers to attend the three-day trade show.

“The Tokyo International Gift Show provides the opportunity to showcase Hawaii’s unique products to an international audience,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This helps us grow our trade sector and add value to the Hawaii brand, which is recognized around the world, especially in Japan.”

At last year’s Tokyo International Gift Show, 62 Hawaii companies reported projected sales of more than $15 million.

A sampling of Hawaii-made products showcased at last year’s gift show included:

  • Fashion: casual and resort wear and accessories
  • Specialty food and gift products: many of which are only found in Hawaii
  • Cosmetics and nutraceuticals: derived from our natural ocean and botanical resources
  • Agricultural products: such as candies and fruit jams, jellies and preserves; fresh Maui-grown pineapple and onion; Big Island macadamia nuts, papaya and coffee.
  • Locally designed jewelry
  • Wood products: utilizing koa and specialty woods.

Funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant, the Hawaii Pavilion at TIGS is part of a series of initiatives DBEDT has undertaken to increase the export of Hawaii’s products.

Export-ready Hawaii companies interested in participating in the 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show should email dbedt.tigs@hawaii.gov to receive an exhibitor’s packet or apply online at invest.hawaii.gov.

Deadline to submit application forms is Friday, April 7, 2017.

Hawaii House of Representatives Sends Proposed Budget to Senate

The full House today approved the state budget with the passage of HB100 HD1, which appropriates funds for both operating and capital improvements costs of the Executive Branch for the current biennium fiscal years FY2017-2018 and FY2018-2019.  For FY2017-2018, the bill provides $7.08 billion in general funds and $13.9 billion in all means of financing.  For FY2018-2019, it appropriates $7.3 billion in general funds and $14.1 billion in all financing means.

The budget also includes a total of nearly $1.9 billion for FY2018 and $926 million for FY2019 for capital improvement projects (CIP) throughout the state.  Of the total CIP funds, $1.1 billion go to CIP projects on Oahu, $376 million to Maui County (including Molokai and Lanai), $361 million for Hawaii Island, and $ 167 million for Kauai.

“This year we have proposed a very practical budget because income estimates for the state are declining,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Kahului). “The priority is to meet the budgetary needs of our core programs including education, kupuna care, homelessness, health programs, environmental protection and transportation. This budget accomplishes that goal.”

The state budget consists of two major funding allocations: Capital Improvement Projects funding (CIP) is money earmarked to build and maintain the state’s physical infrastructure; operating funds are monies used to actually run or operate state programs and services.

“General excise tax collections for several months now have been showing zero growth as compared to last year,” said House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa). “On Monday, the Council on Revenues readjusted downwards the fiscal outlook for the next two years. This budget is the recognition by the committee that this is not the time to create new programs if they are at the expense of preserving our core services.”

Operating Biennium Budget Totals:

  • FY2018: $7.08 billion General Funds
  • FY2019: $7.3 billion General Funds
  • FY2018: $13.9 billion All Means of Financing
  • FY2019: $14.1 billion All Means of Financing

Operating funding highlights

Department of the Attorney General

  • $110,000 to maintain the Criminal Justice Information System
  • $101,000 to Maintain the Upgraded Automated Fingerprint Identification System
  • $95,000 for the Hawaii Integrated Justice Information Sharing Program

Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism

  • $3,000,000 for an Excelerator program in the High Tech Development Corporation
  • $80,000 to promote Hawaii as a destination for films

Department of Budget and Finance

  • $15,001,114 to centralize vacation payout for general funded employees statewide
  • $3,695,200 for upgrades for the Employees’ Retirement System

Department of Defense

  • $360,000 for 10-year motor vehicle replacement plan
  • $80,000 for a Hawaii State Fusion Center director

Department of Education

  • $5,600,000 to expand the Hawaii Keiki Healthy and Ready to Learn Program
  • $2,027,645 to support the Office of Hawaiian Education
  • $1,040,593 and 20 positions to expand pre-K programs in DOE preschools
  • $844,776 and 18 positions to support children struggling with homelessness in the DOE
  • $500,000 to address R&M backlogs in state libraries
  • 40 preschool teachers and 20 educational assistants to support special education students in DOE preschools

Department of Human Services

  • $3,000,000 for Rapid Re-Housing program to keep people out of homelessness
  • $3,000,000 for Housing First Program to keep chronically homeless individuals in housing
  • $1,500,000 for homeless outreach
  • $300,000 for homeless shelter maintenance and repair
  • $2,100,000 for low income family and elderly housing facilities
  • $400,000 for services for child victims of sex trafficking

Department of Human Resources Development

  • $3,274,000 for workers’ compensation claims
  • $350,000 for pilot program to improve effectiveness of employees
  • $101,080 for professional development courses for state employees

Department of Health

  • $40,710,951 for various federal grants to support the Disease Outbreak Control Program
  • $24,000,000 for support to local hospitals responding to emergency outbreaks
  • $13,200,000 for immunizations and vaccines for children
  • $3,510,951 for other grants
  • $4,314,600 for a voluntary family planning program grant
  • $4,145,695 for Kupuna Care
  • $3,000,000 as a match for the maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting grant
  • $1,700,000 for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC)
  • $1,912,836 to rebase home and community care service subsidies
  • $422,540 for vector control
  • $300,000 to increase the inventory of clean and sober housing
  • $157,168 and 1 program specialist position for the Long Term Care Ombudsman
  • $150,000 for a Statewide Telehealth Pilot project
  • $102,000 for 2 epidemiological specialists to help with surveillance of disease outbreak

Department of Labor

  • $515,386 and 1 position for Disability Compensation Division modernization
  • $205,00 for Community Services Block Grant
  • $41,197 for Commodity Supplemental Food Program Federal Grant

Department of Land and Natural Resources

  • $4,000,000 for Hawaii Invasive Species Council operations
  • $3,405,749 for Native Resources and Fire Protection operations
  • $2,832,996 for Forest Reserve Management and Development operations
  • $500,000 for Bureau of Conveyances to modernize accessibility to records
  • $500,000 to implement an Integrated Information Management System
  • $250,000 for the Ala Wai Watershed Initiative

Department of Transportation

  • $124,400,000 for 10-year replacement plans for motor vehicles, equipment, and ongoing base funding for special maintenance projects
  • $35,500,000 for airports
  • $17,600,000 for harbors
  • $71,300,000 for highways
  • $4,000,000 for highway cleanup services in Department of Transportation
  • $3,000,000 in state matching funds for Airport Rescue and Firefighting vehicles statewide

University of Hawaii System

  • $600,000 and 6 psychologist positions to address mental health concerns of students enrolled in the University of Hawaii System

Capital Improvement Projects (CIP)

Capital Improvement Program Biennium Budget Totals:

  • FY2018: $784.9 million General Obligation Bond Funds
  • FY2019: $304.9 million General Obligation Bond Funds
  • FY2018: $1,997.8 billion All Means of Financing Funds
  • FY2019: $926.5 million All Means of Financing Funds

CIP highlights

Agriculture

  • $10 million for the development of an agricultural park in Upcountry Maui
  • $3.7 million for improvements to the Waimanalo irrigation system

Accounting and General Services

  • $19 million for Aloha Stadium to meet code, safety, and/or operational requirements
  • $25 million for improvements and maintenance of existing public facilities and sites, statewide.

Business, Economic Development, and Tourism

  • $3 million for an underground utility distribution system on Enterprise Avenue to Midway Road in Kalaeloa
  • $50 million for the Rental Housing Revolving Fund and the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund to finance additional affordable rental housing

Defense

  • $6 million to retrofit buildings with hurricane protective measures to increase the number of emergency shelters, statewide
  • $5 million for incremental addition, replacement, and upgrade of the state Civil Defense warning and communications equipment, statewide

Education

Lump sums of CIP that total over $202 million for school facilities statewide to address equity, school condition, and program support.

  • $13.4 million for a new classroom building at Campbell High School
  • $77 million for the construction of the new East Kapolei Middle School
  • $28.2 million for the construction of the new Pohukaina Elementary School
  • $10 million for health, safety, accessibility, and other code requirements for public libraries, statewide

Hawaiian Home Lands

  • $74 million for lot development, repair, and maintenance of Hawaiian Home Lands

Human Services

  • $2 million for site and dwelling improvements, site utilities, rock fall protection, exterior building repairs, and roof repairs at Puahala Homes
  • $10.7 million for interior and exterior building and site improvements at Hale Po‘ai
  • $1.5 million for rockfall mitigation at Hauiki Homes

Health

  • $1.6 million for improvements and renovations to the Kahuku Medical Center
  • $24.4 million for improvements and renovations to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, statewide
  • $4.4 million for improvements to health facilitates, statewide
  • $2.1 million to modernize elevators at Diamond Head, Lanakila, and Leeward Health Centers
  • $4.5 million for re-roofing, interior and exterior improvements to the Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center

Land and Natural Resources

  • $4.5 million for assessments, maintenance, and remediation of dams under the jurisdiction of the Department of Land and Natural Resources
  • $5 million for dredging and related improvements to the Ala Wai Canal
  • $6 million for rockfall and flood mitigation at various locations, statewide
  • $200,000 for hazardous tree mitigation in forest reserves, game management areas, natural are reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries
  • $800,000 to provide statewide support for fire and natural disaster response
  • $4.5 million for improvements at various boating facilities, statewide
  • $9 million for flood damage reconstruction at the Iao Valley State Monument, Maui

Public Safety

  • $53.5 million for electrical and mechanical infrastructure improvements and rehabilitation of buildings, at Public Safety facilities, statewide
  • $6.7million for a new consolidated women’s housing associated support office, and other improvements at the Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC), Oahu

Transportation

  • $46.1million for renovations and new restroom facilities at airports statewide
  • $170 million for improvements to the overseas terminal ticket lobby at Honolulu International Airport, Oahu
  • $30 million for improvements at gates 29 and 34 to accommodate A380 Aircraft at Honolulu International Airport, Oahu
  • $8.7 million for a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Inspection Station at Kona International Airport, Hawaii
  • $50 million for a Federal Inspection Stations (FIS) at Kona International Airport, Hawaii
  • $39.2 million for holdroom and gate improvements at Kahului Airport, Maui
  • $10.5 million for inbound baggage handling system improvements, Kahului Airport, Maui
  • $7.2 million for terminal improvements at Molokai Airport, Molokai
  • $4.5 million for a new aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) garage, renovation of the terminal, and replacement of airfield lighting at Kalaupapa Airport, Maui
  • $17.8 million for ticket lobby and holdroom improvements at Lihue Airport, Kauai
  • $6.3 million to address safety needs, optimize energy and operational efficiencies, and provide essential infrastructure to Pier 24-28 at Honolulu Harbor, Oahu
  • $7.5 million to address storm water run-off, erosion, passenger safety issues, ineffective drainage, and/or subsurface irregularities at Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai
  • $172.7 million for rehabilitation and/or replacement of bridges, statewide
  • $7.5 million for guardrail and shoulder improvements on state highways, statewide
  • $89 million for a new roadway and/or realignment, and extending the Daniel K. Inouye Highway from the Hilo Terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway, Hawaii
  • $25.9 million for improvements and installation of drainage systems on state highways, statewide
  • $50 million for shoreline protection, highway realignment, and beach fill/nourishment for state highways, statewide

University of Hawaii

  • $30 million for the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, Phase II at Kapiolani Community College, Oahu
  • $5 million for renovations at Snyder Hall, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Oahu
  • $15 million for renovations and new facilities at community colleges and neighbor island university campuses, statewide
  • $550,000 for renovations and improvements for University of Hawaii athletics facilities to address Title IX compliances, statewide
  • $1.8 million for replacement and, renovation of fire alarm systems at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Oahu

Commentary – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: CBO Confirms AHCA Is Bad Deal for American People

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis on the American Health Care Act (AHCA):

“The CBO released the AHCA cost estimate today, confirming what many have been saying—the AHCA is really a handout to insurance and pharmaceutical companies that will further exacerbate the burden on American families. While corporations rake in over $600 billion in tax breaks, our seniors will see their costs rise and low-income Americans will see their coverage drop completely. The proposed AHCA would slash funding for Medicaid by $880 billion over the next decade, threatening the health of millions of vulnerable Americans, and shifting costs to state and local governments that already face tight budgets. Seniors could see their premiums increase up to five times under new age-rating rules that do nothing except continue lining the pockets of insurance companies.

“While I have long called for serious improvements to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is imperative that any reforms to our healthcare system actually serve the health and wellbeing of people. This bill does the opposite—it will have a negative impact on the people of Hawaiʻi and our country. I strongly oppose this harmful legislation, and will continue working for true healthcare reform that puts people above the profits of corporations.”

Click to view report

Background: The AHCA is opposed by AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, the AFL-CIO, and others.

Out-of-State Owner Contribute Up to One Third of Hawaii’s Property Taxes

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) today released a report titled, “An Analysis of Real Property Tax in Hawaii.”  The report estimates that 32.3 percent of Hawaii’s real property tax was paid by out-of-state owners in fiscal year 2016.

Click to read the report

The analysis is based on the real property tax records obtained from all four counties in the state. DBEDT conducted the analysis at the request of the Hawaii State Legislature.

“The report provides detailed information about property ownership and the contributions of real property tax by type of property and by residency of owners”, said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria.  “This study examines the correlation between real property tax and the other sectors in the economy such as government, finance, real estate investment, construction, housing demand, and tourism.“

Chief State Economist Dr. Eugene Tian explained, “It is a challenge to determine the location of residence for property owners, since this is not included in property tax records.  Therefore, the analysis used tax notice mailing addresses as a proxy for the resident location of the property owner. However, mailing addresses provide an estimate rather than an exact measure because, in addition to including property owners, the mailing address may also include management companies, attorneys, accountants, or even friends and relatives.  As a continuation of the study, DBEDT is planning to conduct a survey to identify the nature of the mailing addresses.”

The following is a brief summary of the analysis:

  • Hawaii is one of 14 states in the United States where property taxes are not levied at the state level, but at county level only.
  • Nearly one-third (32.3 percent) of the property taxes were contributed by property owners residing out-of-state.
  • Growth of Hawaii’s real property tax base (valuations) has been following economic conditions; the growth of the property tax base slowed when unemployment rates were high and vice versa.
  • Of the total number of properties (TMKs) in the state, the report estimated that 75.1 percent are Residential and Related; 15.8 percent are Agriculture, Conservation, and Preservation; 5.6 percent are Hotel/Resort and Tourism Related; and 3.5 percent are Commercial/Industrial and Public Service.
  • The estimates for property tax collection in the state showed that 53.2 percent of total property tax are collected from Residential and Related; 23.2 percent from Commercial/Industrial and Public Service; 18.2 percent from Hotel/Resort and Tourism Related; and 5.4 percent from Agriculture, Conservation, and Preservation.
  • For the state overall, it was estimated that 87.5 percent of the Residential & Related properties were owned or managed by Hawaii residents or entities; 10.8 percent were owned or managed by U.S. mainland residents; 1.1 percent were owned or managed by foreign residents or entities; and 0.6 percent of the residential properties were jointly owned by Hawaii and out-of-state residents.
  • For the Hotel/Resort and Tourism Related category, it was estimated that 59.1 percent were owned or managed by U.S. mainlanders; 31.8 percent by Hawaii residents; 7.9 percent by foreign residents; and 1.2 percent were jointly owned between Hawaii and non-Hawaii residents.
  • For the Commercial/Industrial and Public Service category, it was estimated that 84.8 percent were owned or managed by Hawaii residents; 12.3 percent by mainlanders; 0.3 percent by foreigners; and 2.6 percent were jointly owned by Hawaii and out-of-state residents.
  • For the Agriculture, Conservation, and Preservation category, it was estimated that 59.8 percent were owned by Hawaii residents or entities; 35.2 percent by mainlanders; 2.6 by foreigners; and 2.3 percent were jointly owned between Hawaii and out-of-state residents.
  • Including all tax classes, it was estimated that Hawaii residents contributed 67.8 percent of the total real property taxes collected; U.S. mainlanders contributed 29.9 percent; and foreigners contributed 2.4 percent of property tax collections.
  • For the Residential and Related category, Hawaii residents contributed the majority at 76.5 percent of total real property tax collected; U.S. mainlanders contributed 21.1 percent; and foreigners 2.3 percent of property tax collections.
  • For the Hotel/Resort & Tourism Related category, U.S. mainlanders contributed over half of real property taxes paid at 52.0 percent; Hawaii in-state contributed 42.8 percent; and foreigners contributed 5.3 percent of real property taxes paid.
  • For the Commercial/Industrial and Public Service category, Hawaii residents contributed 68 percent; mainlanders contributed 31.9 percent; and foreigners contributed 0.2 percent of real property taxes paid.
  • For the Agriculture, Conservation, and Preservation category, Hawaii residents contributed 64.3 percent; mainlanders contributed 33.3 percent; and foreigners contributed 2.4 percent of total property taxes paid.
  • The average effective rates for in-state-owners were 0.43 percent for the state overall; 0.38 percent for Honolulu County; 0.9 percent for Hawaii County; 0.56 percent for Maui County; and 0.49 percent for Kauai County.
  • The average effective rates for out-of-state-owners were 0.83 percent for the state overall; 0.46 percent for Honolulu County; 2.22 percent for Hawaii County; 1.05 percent for Maui County; and 1.01 percent for Kauai County.

The full report is available at: dbedt.hawaii.gov/economic.

Hawaii Hosts Economic Summit with Leaders from Japan in Kona

The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit educational organization, announce the first ever Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit to be held in Kona, Hawaii from May 9 to 11, 2017.

The summit seeks to accelerate regional and international exchange with prefectures in Japan that have interests in and connections with Hawaii.

“Hawaii and Japan have a unique and significant relationship,” said Gov. David Ige.  “We continue to look for ways to develop programs and initiatives with our global partners, as we strive to achieve new models for economic development, energy cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, youth, and education.”

Summit attendees will discuss shared issues and opportunities spanning business, tourism and energy, and will help forge connections that will pave the way for future collaboration and trade.

“The relationship between Japan and Hawaii continues to have a tremendous impact on Hawaii’s economy,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This summit provides us with a chance to bring key leaders together to explore new opportunities to grow our economy and create new jobs.”

“Japan and Hawaii have a partnership that has been built and nurtured over generations. USJC supports strengthening ties through people-to-people relationships and public-private connections for the benefit of Japan, Hawaii and the continental United States,” said Irene Hirano Inouye, President of the U.S.-Japan Council.

Governors, vice-governors and businesses from Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Okinawa, Ehime, Shizuoka, Okayama, Oita and Nagano prefectures have been invited. These include prefectures that have sister partnerships with the state of Hawaii or are part of USJC’s Governors’ Circle, an initiative that promotes bilateral economic collaboration at the state-prefecture level. The Summit will also be attended by the Governor of Hawaii and other dignitaries in Hawaii, as well as assembly officials, academia and distinguished executives from the continental United States.

Hawaii is recognized as an ideal location for Japanese companies interested in pursuing global business activities. A number of success stories will be discussed at the summit. Hawaii companies interested in the Japan market will also have the opportunity to hear about trends and opportunities to help them launch their products and services in Japan.

Summit Discussion Topics:

  • Business Bridges: Crossing the Pacific to Global Success
  • Innovations in Education: Sparking Global Awareness
  • Tourism 2.0: Strategies to Engage the Next Generation Visitor
  • Governors’ Circle Panel
  • Food Fortunes:  Overcoming Challenges and Building Brands Overseas
  • Puu Waawaa Ranch Pavilion

For more information, and to register for the event, please visit: www.usjapancouncil.org/japan_hawaii_economic_summit.

About the U.S.-Japan Council

The U.S.-Japan Council is a 501(c) 3 non-profit educational organization that contributes to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations by bringing together diverse leadership, engaging stakeholders and exploring issues that benefit communities, businesses and government entities on both sides of the Pacific. The Council cultivates an international network of members, and collaborates with other organizations and institutions to develop programs that allow members to engage with their counterparts in the United States and Japan. The Council promotes people-to-people relations as crucial to a strong U.S.-Japan relationship. The Council was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Washington, DC, with staff in Hawaii, California and Tokyo.

About the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism

DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages.  DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens.  Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

180,000 Square Feet of Pearlridge Center Acquired

Washington Prime Group Inc., in partnership with O’Connor Mall Partners, an affiliate of O’Connor Capital Partners, announced the acquisition of an additional section of Pearlridge Center, located at 98-1005 Moanalua Road in Aiea, Hawaii, for $70 million.

Pearlridge Center comprises two enclosed venues, referred to as Uptown and Downtown. The two companies have acquired 180,000 square feet of space in the Uptown section, which is anchored by Ross Dress for Less and TJ Maxx, with a 91 percent occupancy.

O’Connor is the partner in another joint venture that owns the property. The company’s pro rata share of the purchase price is $35.7 million and the joint venture plans to place $40 million of secured debt on the property during the second quarter of 2017. Washington Price is initially funding its share with funds from the company’s credit facility until the debt is placed.

In January 2017, O’Connor announced a $33 million redevelopment project which includes a remodel of Downtown, including new tenants, a dining space, new interior and exterior finishes, updated entranceways and the addition of a specialty grocery store, a Bank of Hawaii financial services center, Pieology, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Lindbergh store.

“The consolidation of Pearlridge Center under one management and leasing team will streamline operations and further enhance the customer experience,” said Fred Paine, general manager of Pearlridge Center, in prepared remarks. “We welcome the new Uptown tenants and look forward to providing our customers an enhanced mix of retail and dining options.”

Residents in Hawaii Have the MOST Money Taken Out of Their Paychecks

According to a study from GoBankingRates, workers in Hawaii get the most money taken out of their paycheck. An employee here making $50,000 a year will get a $1,923.08 paycheck, assuming a biweekly pay cycle.

In Hawaii, $542.24 of that will go to pay for things like the Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes (FICA), which is a tax used to fund older Americans’ Social Security and Medicare benefits.

In addition to a high state income tax (8.25%), locals in Hawaii have more money withheld from their paychecks thanks to items like the State Disability Insurance (SDI), which is only applicable in four other states.

While Hawaii leads the charge on money withheld, there is some close competition. Other states taking the most out of your paycheck include Oregon ($538.05), Idaho ($528.93), South Carolina ($524.95) and Minnesota ($515.93).

Commentary: Consequences of HB1586 – Relating to Taxation

There will be unintended consequences if HB1586 passes, especially if the disbursement of transit accommodation tax revenue to the counties is eliminated. The County of Hawaii receives 19.5 million dollars in TAT funds. This is their second highest funding
source after property taxes.

The TAT revenue source is used to the mitigate the impact of tourism industry on each county. I firmly believe the residents of each county shouldn’t have to pay entire cost for lifeguard, police, fire, etc services used by these tourists.

The elimination of this funding source will force the county to increase taxes on all property classes, not just on properties owned by wealthy off island homeowners. This will undoubtedly passed on to homeowners, who rent out to individuals (and families) with lower incomes.

These individuals (and families) would be seeing relief in state taxes, but they’ll be seeing higher rental costs as a result. These folks are living on the edge and can ill afford to pay more for rental housing.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Hawaii Tax Reform Bill Passes Committee

House Bill 1586, which attempts to change the basic structure of taxes in Hawaii, was passed by the House Tourism Committee Tuesday.

The bill not only addresses Hawaii’s high cost of living by reducing personal income tax brackets for low and middle income earners and seniors, but also looks at how the counties’ property tax rates are one of the primary reasons for the State’s high housing costs.

“Our residents, especially low and middle income taxpayers, are paying too much income tax,” said Rep. Kyle T. Yamashita, “At the same time, non-residents can buy homes in Hawaii, with the nation’s lowest property tax rates, and yet in most cases, they pay no income tax to the State. This has the effect of keeping the cost of buying a home out of the reach of many of Hawaii’s people and causing property valuation to continuously rise.”

The bill would also end the $103 million subsidy the state provides to the counties from a portion of the Transit Accommodations Tax. Removing this subsidy would make up for part of the reductions in personal income tax collections and encourage the counties to raise property taxes for non-residents and other categories that affect the rising housing costs, Yamashita said.

“We need to restructure how we tax to fuel positive economic outcomes. We cannot continue to make band-aid changes to our tax structure and think anything will really change,” said Yamashita. “This bill is the first step in making taxes more equitable for residents and, if the counties follow suit, will make investors buying homes in Hawaii pay their fair share.”

Free Home Ownership Seminar

Becoming a homeowner is one of the most important steps in a person’s life, and there’s a lot of prep work to do before checking out housing listings. To help prospective buyers become happy homeowners, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union (HCFCU) is hosting “ABC’s of Home Ownership” — a free educational seminar that will be held on Wednesday, February 22, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m at HCFCU’s Kaloko Facility in the John Y. Iwane Credit Union Center Training Room (73-5611 Olowalu Street, Kailua-Kona, HI).  To register for this free seminar or for additional information, contact the HCFCU Call Center at 930-7700 or marketing@hicommfcu.com.  Seating is limited.

73-5611 Olowalu Street, Kailua-Kona, HI

Presented by Reina Miyamoto, Program Director of the Hawaii Home Ownership Center, attendees will receive important information that will help them understand home ownership requirements, as well as inform them of potential obstacles to purchasing a home, such as:

  • Having too much debt (student loans, credit card, etc.)
  • Not having enough money for a down payment
  • Not knowing where to find accurate and reliable information

The Hawaii Home Ownership Center, a non-profit organization, provides information and services needed to become a homeowner, including home buyer education, one-on-one coaching, and more.

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit credit union owned by its over 40,000 member/owners with branches in Honokaa, Kailua-Kona, Kaloko, Kealakekua and Kohala.  In addition to complete checking and savings services, the credit union offers credit cards, auto, mortgage, construction, small business, educational and personal loans; online and mobile banking; investment services; youth programs and supports numerous Hawaii Island programs and events.  Membership in Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is open to all Hawaii Island residents. For more information visit www.hicommfcu.com.

Roosevelt High School Wins Lifesmarts Hawaii State Competition

High school teams from across the state today participated in the 13th annual LifeSmarts Hawaii competition, held at the University of Hawaii Manoa Campus Center Ballroom. The game-show style competition tested students on their knowledge of personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities.

Pete Cagianno and Moanike’ala Nabarro of KITV News served as emcees of today’s competition.”

The final four teams competing today included Maryknoll, Pearl City, Roosevelt and Waiakea High Schools.  After testing their skills through written tests, a “speed smarts” activity, and gameshow style buzzer rounds, the team from Roosevelt High School emerged as this year’s state champion. Members of the team are: Bryan Kitsu (team captain), Zeheng Huang, Hajin Jang, William Li, and Elvis Tran. The team was coached by Brian Lock.

The winner of today’s state competition will now represent Hawaii at the National LifeSmarts Competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from April 21 – 24, 2017.

“Participation in the LifeSmarts Hawaii program has increased over the years and it is very exciting to see these students take an interest in something that will provide them with valuable real-life skills,” said Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Director Catherine Awakuni Colón.  “Congratulations to all of the teams that participated today. I wish Roosevelt all the best as they continue on to the national competition.”

“We commend all the student competitors, their parents and coaches for the time, energy and support they dedicated in preparation for today’s competition,” said Acting Securities Commissioner Henry Tanji.

LifeSmarts is an educational program that prepares students to enter the real world as smart consumers by teaching them the skills needed to succeed in today’s global marketplace. The program is run by the National Consumers League and locally by the DCCA Office of the Securities Commissioner, in partnership with the Hawaii Credit Union League.

Local sponsors for the Hawaii State Competition include:

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) Foundation of Hawaii, Inc.
  • Coastal Construction Co., Inc.
  • Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs – Office of the Director
  • Experian
  • Hawaii Construction Alliance
  • Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters
  • International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, Local 1
  • Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local 368
  • Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3
  • Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Union, Local 630
  • Hawaii Council on Economic Education(HCEE)
  • Hawaii Credit Union League
  • Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union
  • Big Island Federal Credit Union
  • CU Hawaii Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaii State Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaiian Electric Employees  Federal Credit Union
  • Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union
  • Oahu Federal Credit Union
  • Pearl Hawaii Federal Credit Union
  • Schofield Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaii Government Employees Association, Local 152
  • Hawaii Prince Hotel
  • HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union Foundation
  • HMSA
  • OtterBox
  • Pasha Group and Pasha Hawaii
  • State of Hawaii, Department of the Attorney General, Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division, Community and Crime Prevention Branch
  • United Public Workers AFSCME, Local 646
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa Financial Literacy Program
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa Shidler College of Business Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE)

More information about the LifeSmarts Hawaii program can be found at www.LifeSmartsHawaii.com.

Hawaii’s Economy Continues to Expand

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released its first quarter 2017 Statistical and Economic Report, which shows Hawaii’s economy continues to expand at a slightly reduced rate.

Click to view full report

According to the most recent data released on Feb. 2 from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Hawaii’s economic growth rate during the first three quarters of 2016 was 2.1 percent, higher than the U.S. economic growth rate of 1.4 percent during the same time period.

“Hawaii had a great year in 2016 with 14,000 new payroll jobs created,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria.  “Almost every sector saw job increases except state government and wholesale trade.  Our unemployment rate was the fourth lowest in the nation in 2016, and we expect our economic condition to remain stable in 2017.”

DBEDT revised its projection on Hawaii’s economic growth, as measured by the growth of real gross domestic product (GDP), to 1.8 percent for 2017, slightly lower than the 1.9 percent projection made in the previous quarter.

“The downward adjustment in Hawaii’s economic growth for 2017 was mainly due to the new projection on visitor expenditures for 2017,” said Chief State Economist Eugene Tian.  “We expect visitor arrivals will reach more than 9 million in 2017, about the same as we forecasted in the previous quarter.  However, we now expect visitor days will grow by 1.4 percent in 2017, lower than the 2 percent we forecasted in November 2016.  We will see fewer or slower growth from those longer length-of-stay markets such as Oceania, Canada, Europe, and U.S. West.  The slower growth in visitor days will lead to slower growth in visitor expenditures.”

According to DBEDT, passenger count data, total passengers to Hawaii increased 3.8 percent in January 2017, as compared with the same month last year. Passengers on domestic flights increased 2.2 percent and passengers on international flights increased 8.1 percent.

The end of 2016 saw historic high levels of labor force, employment and payroll job count.  Statewide unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) fell to 2.6 percent by the end of the year.  By December 2016, unemployment rates of all the counties fell below 3 percent, except Hawaii County where unemployment rate was slightly higher than others, at 3.1 percent.

In 2016, four sectors were the main driving forces for job gains: construction, tourism, health care and professional services.  Construction led the job gain at 4,600; followed by Food Services and Drinking Places at 2,800; Health Care and Social Assistance at 2,500; Accommodations at 1,000; and Professional and Business Services added 900 jobs.

In 2016, initial unemployment claims decreased by 6.4 percent.  However, the decrease occurred mostly in the beginning months of the year. Since October 2016, initial unemployment claims have been higher than the same period in the previous year, and the trend continued into January 2017.

In 2016, total visitor arrivals increased 3 percent and visitor expenditures increased 4.2 percent, both were higher than projected by DBEDT.

At of the end of 2016, value of private building permits was down by 18.2 percent.  Value of commercial and industrial permits decreased the most at 70 percent, while residential permits decreased by 12.3 percent.  Value of additions and alterations decreased by 1.7 percent.

According to the February 2017 Blue Chip Economic Indicators, most of the economies in the world will see steady economic growth in 2017 and 2018, especially the three major Hawaii visitor source countries – U.S., Canada, and Japan.  The U.S. economy will expand 2.3 percent, Canadian economy will grow 1.9 percent, and Japanese economy will increase 1 percent in 2017, where all of the growth rates are higher than those experienced in 2016.

With the economic data currently available, DBEDT expects that the economic growth rate will be 1.8 percent in 2017, and will slightly decrease to 1.6 percent by year 2020.

Non-agriculture payroll job count will grow by 1.2 percent in 2017, the same as projected in the previous quarter. Job growth is projected to be at 1.1 percent for the years after 2017.

DBEDT expects the unemployment rate will increase slightly in 2017 to 3.4 percent and will rise to 3.6 percent in 2020.

Nominal (no inflation adjustment) personal income is projected to grow at around 4.7 to 4.8 percent during the next few years, same as the projection in the previous quarter.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Hawaii personal income grew by 4.5 percent during the first three quarters of 2016.  DBEDT projects that real personal income will increase in the neighborhood of 2.5 percent in the next few years.

DBEDT lowered its projection on the consumer inflation rates to a range between 2.3 and 2.5 percent during the 2017-2020 period.  The actual consumer inflation rate in 2016, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was 2 percent, lower than the 2.3 percent projected by DBEDT in November 2016.

The DBEDT Quarterly Statistical and Economic Report contains more than 120 tables of the most recent quarterly data on Hawaii’s economy as well as narrative explanations of the trends in these data.

The full report is available at: dbedt.hawaii.gov/economic/qser/.

Hawaiian Air Line Pilots Reach Preliminary Contract Agreement

The Hawaiian Airlines Master Executive Council (HAL MEC) met today to consider changes to our PWA that have been negotiated by our pilot group’s Negotiating Committee, assisted by ALPA’s professional negotiators, financial advisors and benefits experts.

Hawaiian Air line Pilots reach preliminary contract agreement

We are pleased to announce that we have reached an Agreement-in-Principle (AIP) with Hawaiian Airlines that is subject to completion of a few parts of remaining contract language. The MEC resolution passed today, by a 3-1 vote, is attached to this message.

We believe that remaining language will only take a few days to complete. As soon as that happens, the MEC will reconvene to formally consider the merits of the tentative agreement (TA). If approved by the MEC, we will ask each active member to participate in the democratic process of our Union and decide whether it deserves ratification.

Before that, please know that there will be plenty of time to read the actual draft contract language, attend presentations that cover all changes, ask questions and get them answered, and then cast your vote. There will be no rush.

MEC members are already receiving calls, texts, emails and questions. It’s clear from many of these that facts are in very short supply. We urge everyone to wait until you have clear facts, the chance to ask questions and get them answered, and the opportunity for our pilot group to have respectful discussions and make our collective decision.

In the meantime, and to make sure that basic facts are known, you should be aware of a few key facts. Other less significant improvements and changes also deserve your attention and will be explained later.

  • The final agreement is much improved from the offer that the Company communicated to you in November;
  • Pay rates have been substantially improved and represent the competitive market for pilots and recent contract settlements. If a tentative agreement is approved and ratified:

o   12-year A330 Captain rates will be $290 on the date of signing, increase to $300 in 2017, and reach $337 in the last year of the PWA;

o   12-year B767 Captain rates will be $240 on the date of signing, increase to $250 in 2017, and reach $281 in the last year of the PWA;

o   12-year A321 Captain rates will be $235 on the date of signing, increase to $245 in 2017, and reach $275 in the last year of the PWA;

o   12-year B717 Captain rates will be $210 on the date of signing, increase to $220 in 2017, and reach $247 in the last year of the PWA.

  • The First Officer percentage of Captain’s pay (the “FO slope”) will increase immediately.
  • All HA pilots will receive very substantial ratification bonus payments consistent with industry rates that would have been in place for the equipment each of us has flown since the amendable date of the contract.
  • Our trip rig has been significantly enhanced (3.5:1) to provide more pay and credit for inefficient pairings.
  • An average min day (Minimum Flight Grouping Credit) has been established that provides pay and credit for inefficient trips.
  • Recurrent training pay and credit has been increased.
  • Retiree health benefits have been monetized and secured by a VEBA trust like the one that exists for our LTD benefits. That means that our retiree health benefits will continue to be industry leading, and be protected against merger or Company economic downturns.

Your unity and support have made this accomplishment possible, and we look forward to sharing full details with you in the near future.  Until then we urge you to avoid speculation, be skeptical of rumors, and continue to do the outstanding work you do each day.

HAL MEC

Island Air Announces Flight Expansion Plans

476 flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island, compared to the 266 flights per week it currently offers

With the addition of new Q400 aircraft to its fleet, Island Air has begun increasing the number of interisland flights to its schedule.

Island Air’s first new Q400 aircraft, named Ola Kūpono, which means “safety in everything we do,” began service on January 12, 2017. Photo courtesy of island Air

Over the next four months, Island Air plans to phase in new regularly scheduled flights that will significantly increase its roundtrip service between Oʻahu and the neighbor islands. The number of daily roundtrip flights between Honolulu and Kahului will double to 16; between Honolulu and Kona will increase from six to 10; and the number of daily roundtrip flights between Honolulu and Līhu‘e will grow from six to eight. The airline will also add flights to accommodate high travel days (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays) and spring break travel demands.

By the beginning of May, Island Air expects to offer up to 476 flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island, compared to the 266 flights per week it currently offers.

“The added flight service is in response to growing demand from our customers and travel partners and also reflects the improved operational efficiencies of the new Q400 aircraft that are being phased into our fleet” said David Uchiyama, president and chief executive officer of Island Air. “The entire Island Air team remains focused on enhancing the interisland travel experience for residents and visitors, which includes providing more convenient options to island hop, either for business or to enjoy a weekend getaway or visit.”

Island Air’s first new Q400 began service on January 12. The aircraft is 30 percent faster than conventional turboprops, resulting in shorter flight times, which enables Island Air to operate more flights each day. The airline plans to add up to seven new Q400s by the end of the year and will transition its existing fleet of five ATR-72 aircraft out of service.

Island Air currently offers eight roundtrips daily between Honolulu and Kahului (one flight was added on Feb. 1), with three additional roundtrips on Fridays and Sundays; six roundtrips daily between Honolulu and Kona, with one additional roundtrip on Fridays and Sundays; and six roundtrips daily between Honolulu and Līhu‘e.

Island Air’s flight schedule can be viewed at: https://www.islandair.com/flight-schedules

 

16th Annual Feed-A-Thon Begins February 8th

Caring for Hawaii Island’s hungry has always been a challenge once the holidays have passed, as food donations slow down.  Fortunately, Kahikina Ching — the founder and organizer of the 16th Annual Food Basket Feed-A-Thon, has scheduled 10 days this month where residents and visitors may continue to help families in need.

Supported each year by Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union (HCFCU), this unique food drive will be held at HCFCU branches from Honoka`a to Kealakekua, and at select KTA Superstores around the island.

Food items and monetary donations will be accepted at all HCFCU branches Wednesday, February 8th through Friday, February 17th.  HCFCU staff will also sell special ribbons with all contributions going directly to the Food Basket.  See below for branch locations and hours.  For more information, please contact marketing@hicommfcu.com or 808-930-7700.

“Every day during the Feed-A-Thon we see our members and staff donating money and canned food. Whether it’s just one can or one dollar, every donation helps,” said Tricia Buskirk, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union President  & CEO.  “It’s so uplifting to experience these type of activities that strengthen our community as we show compassion, caring and understanding for one another.”

Tommy “Kahikina” Ching collecting food at the 2014 Annual Feed-A-Thon. The Food Basket photo.

Kahikina Ching will be at every KTA Superstore location during the dates and times below thanking people for their donations. Food and monetary donations are equally welcomed, because money donated is used to purchase food from KTA at wholesale prices.  According to Ching, “I can feed six people for just $2!”  To date, the Feed-A-Thon has provided more than one million pounds of food since the event began in 2002.

According to En Young, The Food Basket’s Executive Director, “Kahikina’s Feed-a-thon has always been a perfect complement to the services of The Food Basket. Through his activities we can continue to provide food for those who aren’t currently in a position to provide for themselves.”

Food and monetary donations may be brought to any HCFCU branch:

  • Kaloko: 73-5611 Olowalu St., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Kailua-Kona: 75-159 Hualalai Road, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740; Phone: (808) 930-7700;
  • Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Kealakekua: 81-6631 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kealakekua, HI 96750; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Kohala: 54-396 Union Mill Road, Kapaau, HI 96755; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Honoka’a: 45-690 Pakalana St., Suite A, Honoka’a, HI 96727; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

KTA Super Store locations and dates are:

  • February 8-9: KTA – Kailua-Kona  (Kona Coast Shopping Center, 74-5594 Palani Road, (808) 329-1677).
  • February 10-11: Waikoloa Village Market (Waikoloa Highlands Center, 68-3916 Paniolo Avenue, Waikoloa Village (808) 883-1088).
  • February 12-13: KTA – Waimea Center (65-1158 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela, (808) 885-8866).
  • February 14-15: KTA – Puainako (50 East Puainako Street, Hilo, (808) 959-9111).
  • February 16-17: KTA – Keauhou (Keauhou Shopping Center, 78-6831 Ali`i Drive, (808) 322-2311).

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Lawmakers Call For Reinstatement of Glass-Steagall

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined 26 Members of Congress in introducing the Return to Prudent Banking Act today. The bipartisan legislation, endorsed by Public Citizen and the AFL-CIO, would reinstate important consumer protections put in place after the Great Depression and require separation between commercial and investment banking.

(Left to right) Reps. Walter B. Jones, Tim Ryan, Tulsi Gabbard, and Marcy Kaptur call for a reinstatement of Glass-Steagall.

“From the Great Depression through the turn of the 21st Century, Glass-Steagall helped keep our economy safe. Repealing it allowed too-big-to-fail banks to gamble with the savings and livelihoods of the American people, with devastating, irrevocable consequences. Hawaiʻi, along with communities across the country, paid the price in 2008 with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Today, the banks that were “too big to fail” in 2008 are even bigger and more powerful now. We must reinstate Glass-Steagall and create a financial system that works for every American—not just Wall Street banks,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)

“The 2008 crash nearly took down our entire economy and led to the great recession which wiped out average Americans’ income. But now, Democrats and Republicans have memorialized support for Glass-Steagall in their respective political platforms. Even President Trump has declared his support for a new Glass-Steagall law,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09). “That is why we are here, to build on the momentum and the movement to reinstate Glass-Stegall.”

“Wall Street banks should not be allowed to use taxpayer-insured consumer deposits to gamble in the markets and then get taxpayer bailouts for failed decisions,” said Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-03). “It’s time to put American taxpayers and depositors first.  It’s time to pass the Return to Prudent Banking Act and reinstate Glass-Steagall.”

“I am proud to cosponsor the Return to Prudent Banking Act, which revives the separation between commercial banking and securities companies as written in the Glass-Steagall Act. These are smart financial reforms designed to protect our economy from another financial crisis and hardworking American taxpayers from another Wall Street collapse. We know that the climate of deregulation led to the financial crisis. We can’t let that happen again,” said Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13).

Background: In 1933, the Banking Act—also known as the Glass-Steagall Act—passed amid an atmosphere of chaos and uncertainty to address banking failures of the Great Depression. The goal of its lead cosponsors, Rep. Henry Steagall and Sen. Carter Glass, was to separate commercial and investment banking and restore confidence in the American banking system.

In 1999, Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act and removed the barriers between investment banking and traditional depository banks. This action gave financial institutions and investment firms access to the deposits of the American consumer, which then were used to gamble on the Wall Street casino. This misguided deregulation allowed the creation of giant financial supermarkets—that could own investment banks, commercial banks, and insurance firms—and created companies too big and intertwined to fail. This lack of regulation also allowed Wall Street to leverage their debt past sustainable ratios using consumer mutual funds and the pension accounts of American workers as collateral.

Hilo Community Supports State Efforts to Redevelop Banyan Drive and East Hawaii

Tonight at the Hilo Innovation Center in downtown Hilo business leaders, community leaders, tenants and lessees came together to listen to the Hilo Economic Development Plan presented by Jim McCully, spokesman of the Kanoelehua Industrial Area Association (KIAA).

Nearly 100 folks crowded the center and listened to presentations by McCully, HPM Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Jason Fujmoto and later on Senator Kai Kahele dropped in to say a few words.

SB1292/HB1479RELATING TO THE HILO COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DISTRICT.

Establishes the Hilo Community Economic District located in East Hawai`i and places it under the jurisdiction of the Hawai`i Community Development Authority.

SB1184/HB1310RELATING TO THE WAIAKEA PENINSULA REDEVELOPMENT DISTRICT.

Establishes the Waiakea Peninsula Redevelopment District, Planning Committee and Revolving Fund.

Jason Fujimoto opened the meeting explaining why the meeting was called together. Fujimoto stated, “I know to some that the words economic revitalization may sound big and scary but in my mind it really boils down to the definition of community and community is a place where we live, where we work, where we learn and where we play and all of the components that make that happen.”

Fujimoto turned the microphone over to Jim McCully who explained some of the history of Banyan Drive and why economic development throughout all of Hilo, especially areas like KIAA are so important.

Senator Kai Kahele was able to make the end of the meeting and he stressed how important it was for the community to stand behind all the bills introduced this session and to contact our State legislators that will hear the bills in committee. He also thanked the broad range of community members that attended and also thanked his fellow Hawaii Island Legislators, Hawaii County Council members as well as the County of Hawaii Planning Department for their support and collaboration.