President of Hawai’i Island Chamber of Commerce Statement on Pending Special Session on Honolulu Rail Project

Hawai‘i Island State Representatives and Senators

Re: Honolulu Area Rapid Transit system funding

Dear Representatives and Senators,

From August 28 to September 1 the Hawai‘i Legislature will be in session to assist the City and County of Honolulu with the capital for funding the Honolulu Area Rapid Transit system. We thank you for this opportunity to voice our concern and opinion in this matter.

We understand that the Legislature will be considering proposals including:

  • Maintaining the current general excise tax (“GET”) rate premium for applicable Oahu transactions through 2037.
  • Increasing the transient accommodations tax (“TAT”) rate for applicable services on Oahu.
  • Increasing the TAT rate for applicable services on all islands
  • Assessing premium GET taxes on a statewide basis.

The Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce strongly recommends funding the capital shortfall for the Honolulu Area Rapid Transit system by extending the GET for transactions in the City and County of Honolulu only. We note the following:

  • Uncomfortable as it is to point out, the shortfall is primarily the result of management decisions made by an agency of the City and County of Honolulu. Neighbor islands were not part of either the management or the process. Asking the residents and visitors of the neighbor islands to pay for this process gone awry is not reasonable. Services provided by HART will be provided only on Oahu benefitting primarily Oahu residents and not the residents of the neighbor islands. We believe any impact should be borne by the future users of HART.
  • A major argument against simply allowing the GET on Oahu to continue is that this tax is regressive. However, this argument glosses over several economic realities that businesses face every day. Taxes of any kind increase the total price paid by the buyer. Higher prices for any good or service result in some level of reduced demand – if not for that service, for other services where those dollars may have been spent:
  1. While we do not know the number of travelers who will choose not to travel to Hawaii because of a higher TAT – there is no doubt that at the margin some will choose not to come here or to delay a trip.
  2. Some of those who do come will find that they must curtail their spending while here in order to stay within their budget.

In either of these cases, the dollars spent on goods and services in Hawaii will be reduced. The ripple effect of reduced spending will be a reduction in employee hours (and jobs) absorbed almost exclusively by employees at the lowest rung on the employment ladder. In short, these employees will suffer by losing income much more dramatically than they would if the current 0.5% premium in GET taxes is maintained on Oahu.

Beyond this, there is the simple equity issue. Should we be charging those who have no vote (tourists) for services that they are not likely to use – simply because they have no vote? This is not the right decision.

  • Finally, the City and County of Honolulu – most affected by Rail – has stated firmly that its choice is to fund by extending the GET through 2037. If that is their choice, it is not clear to us why we should over reach to further manage their decision.

Sincerely,
Bill Walter, President

Cover Sheet to Pending Rail Bill to Be Voted On

Here is the cover sheet of the Senate version of the rail bill that Hawaii Legislators will be voting on during the upcoming session on the Honolulu Rail Transportation Project.

It basically calls for:

  • 3 Year General Excise (GE) surcharge extension on Oahu
  • 1% Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT) Statewide (Increase hotel tax on all islands for everyone)
  • $103 million TAT to the Counties to be made permanent.

I should re-poll those that refused to answered my survey because they said they haven’t seen the bill, and ask them if they are now voting YES or NO on increasing the TAT Statewide… but I simply don’t have the time!

Representative Mark Nakashima’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

Representative Mark Nakashima

Dear Mr. Tucker:
Thank you for your recent email expressing your interest in the up-coming special session on the Issue of Honolulu’s rail system.  Please be assured that I share your concern.  As you know, the decision by the Hawaii Legislature was made before I joined the body, and I believe that questions regarding the state’s commitment to the program as well as other issues regarding the design have already been made.

The House of Representatives voted on the last day of the 2017 Regular Session on an amendment agreed to by with our Senate colleagues on an amendment that would have increased the Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT) by 1% for eleven years, extended the 0.5% General Excise Tax (GET) surcharge on Oahu for an additional year until 2028, restored $10 million to the county’s portion of the TAT allocation, and create a special fund for education.  Unfortunately, this agreement was not agreed to by the Senate as a whole and the bill died for lack of agreement.

One of the major rationales supported by the City and County of Honolulu for using the GET was the fact that approximately 30% of this cost was borne by visitors who paid the GET during their stay in the islands.  The TAT or hotel room tax is paid only by hotel guests while staying in a hotel room, and as such, the vast majority of this revenue would be paid by visitors with the exception of the local residents travelling inter-island and staying in a hotel.

Much has been said bout not wanting to pay for a project on another island, however I think many people miss the point that the City and County of Honolulu pays the vast majority of GET which then subsidizes the state hospitals and neighborhood schools – a system which work on a group of island where the vast differences in real property tax incomes would otherwise cause great inequities from island to island.

I regret that I will not participate in speculation on the final form of the bill to be considered the legislature until one has been written, as percentages and duration becomes meaningless until I am able to see the justification and rationale for these positions.

Finally, I will reiterate that only people who stay in hotel rooms pay the TAT.  Most residents will never pay this tax.  Everyone in Hawaii pays the GET.

Aloha and Best Wishes.

Sincerely,
Mark Nakashima
District 1


Aloha Rep. Nakashima,
Mahalo for representing the Big Island in legislative issues. I have some questions for you folks and hope you will respond to me by Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
Questions:
1. Will you vote YES or NO on a 1% STATEWIDE increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (9.25% to 10.25%) to help fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System in the upcoming legislative special session?
If your answer is YES, please explain why? If your answer is NO, please explain why?
2. Would you support a 6 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% from 2027 to 2034 if this will help fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO
3. Would you support an increase of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% to 0.62% and a 3 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge from 2028 to 2030 if this will fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO
Thank you for your participation in this quick and important decision that will affect all of us on this island.

Representative Nicole Lowen’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

Representative Nicole Lowen

Damon,
I can’t give a yes or no answer about my vote on a bill that I haven’t seen yet, but I appreciate your concern about this and I intend to keep the interests of the Big Island and of my constituents at the forefront. I will be advocating to increase the share of TAT to the counties and for a bill that is in the best interests of taxpayers in my district and across the state.

Mahalo,

Nicole Lowen

——————-

Aloha Rep. Lowen,

Mahalo for representing the Big Island in legislative issues. I have some questions for you folks and hope you will respond to me by Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
Questions:
1. Will you vote YES or NO on a 1% STATEWIDE increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (9.25% to 10.25%) to help fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System in the upcoming legislative special session?
If your answer is YES, please explain why? If your answer is NO, please explain why?
2. Would you support a 6 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% from 2027 to 2034 if this will help fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO
3. Would you support an increase of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% to 0.62% and a 3 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge from 2028 to 2030 if this will fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO
Thank you for your participation in this quick and important decision that will affect all of us on this island.

Senator Kahele to Kick-Off Statewide Higher Education Tour at UH Hilo Next Wednesday

State Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele, Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, is announcing a statewide higher education tour for its committee members. The tour will also include discussions with students, faculty, staff and administrators, that will focus on “transforming the University of Hawai‘i System for the next decade.” Arrangements are being made to visit all 10 University of Hawai‘i System campuses and affiliated education centers this fall as follows:

  • University of Hawai‘i at Hilo 
  • University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa 
  • University of Hawai‘i at West Oahu 
  • University of Hawai‘i Maui College 
  • Hawai‘i Community College (Hilo) 
  • Honolulu Community College 
  • Kapi‘olani Community College 
  • Leeward Community College 
  • Windward Community College 
  • Kaua‘i Community College 
  • Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui (Kona) 
  • North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center (Honoka‘a) 
  • Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (Kaneohe)

To kick off the statewide tour, Senator Kahele is hosting an East Hawai‘i Higher Education Town Hall on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at UH Hilo in UCB100. Topics of discussion will include leadership, enrollment, tuition, governance, student life, facilities, athletics, community engagement and new programs. University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College students, faculty, staff, administrators and the community are encouraged to attend.

For questions regarding the higher education statewide tour or the town hall meeting, please contact the office of Sen. Kahele at 808-586-6760 or senkkahele@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Representative Joy San Buenaventura’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

Representative Joy San Buenaventura

As other legislators have noted, this questionnaire is premature in that we have not been told what we will be voting on in the special session. However, it is clear that there are 3 choices (and variations of these 3 choices) facing the legislature regarding rail funding: 1. No additional taxes and have rail be built until current funding runs out. HART claims that this is not an option because the federal government will want its $1.55 billion back. 2. Extend GE taxes forever (original request) or for 10 years until 2037. This is senate’s last position. 3. Increase TAT by 1% for 10 years and GE .5% for only 1 more year and gave back $10 million in TAT to the various counties with honolulu’s entire TAT share paying only for rail. This is the House’s last position. This was originally proposed late in the 2017 session because Mayor Caldwell testified that most of GE taxes were paid for by tourists (without data supporting his assertion); and it was to ensure that tourists did indeed pay for rail like he testified.

The tourist industry has recently spun the third alternative as a neighbor island tax on rail despite the fact that those who travel & stay with friends or family will not pay TAT tax at all; and completely ignoring the fact that a GE tax increase is also a tax on neighbor islanders who buy on-line from stores like Macy’s, Best buy, Sears, Target & Walmart. For the months of April &May 2017, amazon voluntarily collected Hawaii GE taxes too at 4.5% (http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/34933913/sorry-hawaii-your-tax-free-shopping-on-amazon-is-about-to-end) and stopped after it appeared that the US Supreme Court was not going to rule on internet sales but now there are 9 members of the US Supreme Court. See: one-step-closer-to-internet sales tax. Don’t let the tourist industry fool you, a GE tax increase affects everybody, especially neighbor islanders who depend on on-line purchases, and not just Oahu.

The various counties also do not like the TAT increase option because they want the option to collect the .5% GE for its own transportation needs.

To answer your questions:

1. Will you vote YES or NO on a 1% STATEWIDE increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (9.25% to 10.25%) to help fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System in the upcoming legislative special session?

It depends on whether the proposed bill gave back to the counties $10 million/year like the latest house position and decreased the GE increase from 10 years down to 1. As I stated earlier, a 10-year GE tax increase affects more neighbor island residents than a TAT increase especially where it is likely that the new 9-member US Supreme Court will rule to allow taxation of all on-line sales. I voted Yes on the house position in 2017.

2. Would you support a 6 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% from 2027 to 2034 if this will help fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?

YES – but this is unrealistic because the State Constitution requires that Hawaii County and all the other counties be given an option to increase their GE tax once we give Honolulu the extensionso it won’t be a Honolulu-only GE tax AND no one has ever testified that 6 years was sufficient. HART and all entities have testified that it is their request that the GE .5% increase extensions be forever because they don’t think it ever will be financially sustainable with just fares alone. HART’s track record of asking for a 10 year extension in 2015 and now another extension 2 years later has shown that they will keep coming back. In 2015, I voted NO on any GE tax increase specifically because I did not want to give Hawaii County an opportunity to raise GE at a time when we were just recovering from Iselle and the lava flow so if it was a statewide increase in GE taxes, like that in 2015, I would likely vote NO again because a GE tax is regressive.

3. Would you support an increase of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% to 0.62% and a 3 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge from 2028 to 2030 if this will fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?

Probably Yes but no one has given us this option and see my objections to any GE tax increase in my prior answers

Rep. Richard H. K. Onishi’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

Representative Richard H.K. Onishi

Mr. Tucker,

Thank you for your inquiry, as you know, there are many issues involved in deciding how to fund the Honolulu City & County’s rail project, including the total cost projection, funding from HC&C, Federal funding, public/private partnerships, GET funds, TAT funds, etc. Since there has been no formal proposed bill, your questions are hypothetic options and, may or may not be sufficient to fund the project and there may be combinations of funding methods. I believe that the prudent thing to do is to reserve my comments until after I have seen the proposed bill and have had a chance to ask my questions to the proposers on the details of the project cost and the amount of funding that each source would provide and its potential effect on our residents and tourist. I am also very concern that there needs to be included a method to have the HC&C more accountable for the cost and how the funds are being spent.

Mahalo,
Richard H. K. Onishi


Aloha Rep. Onishi,

Mahalo for representing the Big Island in legislative issues. I have some questions for you folks and hope you will respond to me by Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
Questions:
1. Will you vote YES or NO on a 1% STATEWIDE increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (9.25% to 10.25%) to help fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System in the upcoming legislative special session?
If your answer is YES, please explain why? If your answer is NO, please explain why?
2. Would you support a 6 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% from 2027 to 2034 if this will help fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO
3. Would you support an increase of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% to 0.62% and a 3 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge from 2028 to 2030 if this will fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO
Thank you for your participation in this quick and important decision that will affect all of us on this island.

Senator Lorraine Inouye’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

 

Senator Lorraine Inouye

Aloha Damon,

Thank you for your email.

Although there are plans to go into Special Session, we have not gotten official word from the Leadership of both Houses, specifically, the President of the State Senate and the Speaker of the House, about whether we will convene and the dates. The last week in August has been targeted but no word as of today.

Hence, there Is no draft bill to reference, however there is a federal deadline such that your questions are timely and relevant and I am happy to respond to your questions:

Question 1: Will you vote YES or NO on a 1% STATEWIDE increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (9.25% to 10.25%) to help fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System in the upcoming legislative special session?

My answer is absolutely NO. The rail project is on O’ahu, and the initial financial plan the Legislature approved 10 years ago was to allow the City and County of Honolulu to increase the GET by ½% specifically for the purposes of building an elevated rail system.

Ten years ago, as Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, I was one of the Senate negotiators and I supported the original bill for a 1% increase. However, during the course of the hearings, the Oahu Senators and State House of Representatives did not support it and ended up with the final ½%. Had we stayed with the 1%, we would not be in this position today.

As my District 4 constituents know, there is now a proposal under consideration to have the neighbor islands assist with rescuing Oahu on their shortfall by using – or more accurately, absconding – some of the Transient Accommodation Tax generated by Hawaii Island hotels. I absolutely cannot support this.

I have been in my district the last several days and all of those we have spoken to, and also many emails that I’ve received are not in support of paying into the rail shortfall. I have also circulated a poll and it is resoundingly opposed to this. My constituents have shared widely differing reasons for opposing use of neighbor island-generated TAT for rail on Oahu, and I agree with many of their reasons. Bottom line: it is not fair or equitable. The people of Hawaii County are already shouldering a recent increase in taxes – both property and fuel taxes. I will support my constituents first and foremost and those outside of my district on Hawaii Island and oppose such a proposal.

Question 2: Would you support a 6 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% from 2027 to 2034 if this will help fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?

My answer is YES. For the sake of my constituents, I must reiterate that this 0.5% GET Surcharge would apply only to Oahu, not the neighbor islands. I would support it but must also note that this proposed 6-year extension would not fully fund the shortfall. My preference is to support the City and County of Honolulu’s and the rail authority’s request to extend the Surcharge for an additional 10 years – to cover the shortfall – thereby not touching the Transient Accommodations Tax. I must add however, that even a 10-year GET Surcharge extension for Oahu is problematic because it would primarily be used for building the rail.
What about operational and maintenance costs going forward? They are not in the equation. This is why the County’s original request was to extend the GET Surcharge in perpetuity. Bottom line, this option, while it would address federal government funding requirements in the short term, it really amounts to kicking the can down the road for the next generation to resolve. This is sad.

Question 3: Would you support an increase of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% to 0.62% and a 3 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge from 2028 to 2030 if this will fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?

My answer is YES. I have shared a recommendation to allow the City and County of Honolulu the option to raise an additional 1% with Legislative leadership. I also believe such an increase may have to go for several more years as a 2-year extension may not fully fund the shortfall.

Thank you, Damon, for helping the people of Hawaii, especially neighbor islanders, understand what’s at stake and have their voices heard.

Sincerely, Lorraine R. Inouye
Senator, District 4 (Hawai’i Island – North Hilo-Hamakua-Waimea-Kohala-Waikoloa-North Kona)

Senator Russell Ruderman’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

Sen. Ruderman

Editors Note:  I only received one e-mail and got a follow-up later this afternoon.  The following post has been edited to reflect that miscommunication:

Sorry, Damon, my mistake. This was supposed to be first answer.

Questions:

1. Will you vote YES or NO on a 1% STATEWIDE increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (9.25% to 10.25%) to help fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System in the upcoming legislative special session?

Answer:

I will vote “NO” if any funds from outer islands are used for rail.

If new Big Island TAT funds all go to Big Island, then I will consider it.

2. Would you support a 6 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% from 2027 to 2034 if this will help fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE? YES OR NO?

YES,
This question is not clear on the outer island tax increase issue. I will vote “NO” if any funds from outer islands are used for rail.( GE or TAT)

3. Would you support an increase of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% to 0.62% and a 3 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge from 2028 to 2030 if this will fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE? YES or NO

YES

This question is not clear on the outer island tax increase issue. I will vote “NO” if any funds from outer islands are used for rail. ( GE or TAT)

I would support either GET extension if it funds rail w/o increasing TAT, or increasing ANY tax on outer islands.

Mahalo,
Russell

While I agree rail ought to be finished, there are two bigger concerns here for me. First, the project has been grossly mismanaged, and throwing more money at such a project without fixing the mismanagement is rarely a good idea.

Secondly here in Puna our only road in and out is the deadliest highway and the state and it’s the fastest growing district in the state. So I cannot agree to subsidizing Oahu’s project while our urgent needs go unmet.


Aloha Sen. Ruderman,

Mahalo for representing the Big Island in legislative issues. I have some questions for you folks and hope you will respond to me by Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
Questions:
1. Will you vote YES or NO on a 1% STATEWIDE increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (9.25% to 10.25%) to help fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System in the upcoming legislative special session?
If your answer is YES, please explain why? If your answer is NO, please explain why?
2. Would you support a 6 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% from 2027 to 2034 if this will help fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO
3. Would you support an increase of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% to 0.62% and a 3 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge from 2028 to 2030 if this will fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO
Thank you for your participation in this quick and important decision that will affect all of us on this island.

Representative Cindy Evans’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

Rep. Cindy Evans

Aloha Damon,
I understand you wish to get a pulse before special session.

At this time I will pass on answering your questions. There are currently too many options available and until I see the bill, I feel the questions are unrealistic.

Best Regards,

Cindy Evans


Aloha Rep. Evans

Mahalo for representing the Big Island in legislative issues. I have some questions for you folks and hope you will respond to me by Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Questions:
1. Will you vote YES or NO on a 1% STATEWIDE increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (9.25% to 10.25%) to help fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System in the upcoming legislative special session?
If your answer is YES, please explain why? If your answer is NO, please explain why?
2. Would you support a 6 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% from 2027 to 2034 if this will help fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO
3. Would you support an increase of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% to 0.62% and a 3 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge from 2028 to 2030 if this will fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO

Thank you for your participation in this quick and important decision that will affect all of us on this island.

Senator Kai Kahele’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

Senator Kai Kahele

Aloha Damon and mahalo for your email. Although we (the Senate) have not seen a bill yet there has been speculation to what a bill may look like to help fund the Honolulu Rail Project shortfall, however I can provide a response to your questions based on the knowledge I have so far.

Question #1: Answer: NO. I do not support increasing the TAT Statewide to fund the rail project. Front loading the rail project with money from a TAT statewide increase is bad policy for the State. Leisure tourism is our number one industry and is what drives GE revenues. Raising the TAT hotel tax statewide has the potential to hurt our tourism industry. In addition, I have heard from many of my constituents in Hilo and they are opposed to raising the TAT hotel tax statewide which would make on island and off island travel for hard working Hawaiʻi Island families, youth sports teams and church groups that much more expensive when they need to stay in our island hotels. If it makes Hawaiʻi Island hotels more expensive for local families, to fund the rail project on Oahu, I cannot support that.

Questions #2: Answer: YES. I do support the extension of the GE surcharge on Oahu to fund the rail project. The GE surcharge on Oahu has been paid and collected by Oahu residents since 2007 and is set to expire in 2027. An extension of this broad based tax, which the voters of Oahu voted for seems reasonable to me. It will also not impact the neighbor islands or the tourism industry. I do support a 6 year extension of the surcharge to complete the rail project.

Questions #3: Answer: YES. If front loading the rail project to decrease total cost and interest paid was what the voters and residents of Oahu wanted than I would support that. The Hawaiʻi GE tax is inherently a regressive tax and has the potential to affect lower income individuals and families which we would need to weigh appropriately. However, if this proposal could decrease the amount of years for the GE extension, which also helps lower income families, and ends up costing less in total interest paid, the legislature should consider it. Again, I would like to see what the residents of Oahu think about this proposal, maybe an informal poll could be taken.

Continue reading

Senator Josh Green’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

Senator Josh Green

Thanks for asking Damon.
I need to see the actual proposals before I answer hypotheticals.

At this point the only tax I support for rail is an extension of the GET on Oahu, which I believe would need to be for 8 additional years.

Sincerely,

Josh

Aloha Sen. Green,

Mahalo for representing the Big Island in legislative issues. I have some questions for you folks and hope you will respond to me by Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Questions:

1. Will you vote YES or NO on a 1% STATEWIDE increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (9.25% to 10.25%) to help fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System in the upcoming legislative special session?
If your answer is YES, please explain why? If your answer is NO, please explain why?

2. Would you support a 6 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% from 2027 to 2034 if this will help fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO

3. Would you support an increase of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% to 0.62% and a 3 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge from 2028 to 2030 if this will fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO

I will be posting your answers (or non answer) on my website Hawaii News and Island Information (http://mauinotices.com) .

Thank you for your participation in this quick and important decision that will affect all of us on this island.

Hawaii Rep. Beth Fukumoto Responds to Hate Letter, White Nationalism and Issues a Warning to the GOP

After receiving a letter from a self-proclaimed Trump supporter attacking her Japanese ancestry and her support for “illegals, black thugs, Muslims and bombs, and gays,” Rep. Beth Fukumoto released the following statement. Fukumoto, who left the Republican Party earlier this year after being removed from leadership over her participation in the Hawaii Women’s March, has spoken extensively on her experiences of racism and race politics in the GOP.

Rep. Beth Fukumoto

“This letter isn’t the first to come across my desk, but it’s so painfully relevant to everything that has unfolded in America these last few days that I believed it needed to be addressed. This individual and their list of everything they hate was inspired by President Trump and his statements.

“I worked to fight racist rhetoric when I was a member of the Republican Party, and I left when I realized I couldn’t win that fight from within. The white nationalist undercurrent of the Presidential campaign stretched far beyond Donald Trump. His success is the result of white nationalism left unchecked within the GOP for years.

“Today, every elected official in the GOP needs to make a choice. Be vocal, public and specific in your opposition to prejudice everywhere – especially in the Oval Office. Or, be complicit and continue to work peacefully with a party that has gained electoral wins by building coalitions of mistrust and hate.”

Mayor Kim’s Testimony Re: Special Session 2017 – Rail Tax Surcharge

August 11, 2017
Special Session 2017 – Rail Tax Surcharge

Dear Senator Lorraine Inouye, Senator Clarence Nishihara, Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, Representative Henry Aquino, Representative Sylvia Luke, and Committee Members:

We understand that the upcoming Special Session will be considering many different proposals on how to help the City and County of Honolulu Address the funding of their rail system. While we understand that this is not an easy decision, we want to ensure that the legislatures makes their decision based on fairness. We understand that some of the options being considered include increasing GET and TAT for the entire state with all the proceeds going to rail.

These increased taxes would be collected on all islands, even though the rail system is only located on Oahu. That does not seem fair to tax those that don’t even have access to the rail system. We do support the extension of the GET surcharge for Oahu. That seems to be the fairest method to ensure that those most likely to benefit from the system will pay for the system.

In addition, the TAT cap for the counties was not restored to $103 million as in previous years. This reduced our TAT revenue by $1.86 million. This is more than the entire budget for our Civil Defense department. Without these funds, a significant increase in real property taxes for our citizens was necessary. The same citizens that you also represent. We cannot burden our citizens any more for something that will not benefit them.

Taxing all for the benefit of one is not fair. All islands could see an increase in the TAT and GET but only one will benefit. We all will be seeing less TAT in our budgets. We respectfully request that you whatever you can to provide the counties with their fair share of TAT and find another way to fund the rail system, such as continuing the additional GET for Oahu.

We appreciate your consideration as we all attempt to best serve our joint constituents, the people of Hawai’i.

Respectfully,

Harry Kim
Mayor

Guest Commentary – Hawaii Rail Fiasco… What They Don’t Want You to Know

You posted (on Facebook) an interesting article on Civil Beat in regards to the Rail Project: Lawmakers Consider Having Neighbor Islands Help Pay for Oahu’s Troubled Rail Project

What you and most fail to realize is that our House representatives on this island already voted YES to have the neighbor islands pay for rail, including our island and NO ONE called them out or held them accountable.

SB1183 is what deadlocked at the end of session because the House and Senate disagreed on the funding mechanism for the rail project.

This is the link to the HOUSE amendment to the bill that passed the House and was voted on by our representatives.

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SB1183_HCD2_.htm

The bottom line:

They voted for a increase to the TAT of 10.25% (an increase of 1%) statewide, with 100% of the proceeds going to rail and they voted to CAP the TAT distribution to the counties at $103 million to 2028.

How does the $103 million cap affect Hawaii County? Hawaii County gets 18.6% of that cap which is approximately $18 million. However, HI County should be getting almost $40 million from the TAT if it was, prior to 2009, apportioned fairly through a percentage based allocation. The State capped the Counties during the recession and has never restored it to a percentage based amount. Effectively, HI County is getting robbed every year of its fair share of TAT by the State, $22 million could pay for ALLOT of stuff on our island, busses etc..

Who voted for that? 100% of HI Islands House membership, every single one.

Now, we are going back into special session and the House has the same game plan, increase TAT statewide and this time, even worse, cap the Counties at $93 million, instead of $103 million.

If their is not enough public awareness on our island or pressure from their constituents, they will vote the same way. They don’t want anyone to know what I just shared with you, but it is all public information, just no one caught it.

But now you know…

A Concerned Citizen

A Message From Senator Kahele

Photo courtesy “Hawaii State Senate.”

Aloha,
This Monday, August 7, 2017 is the start of the new school year and I wanted to take this moment to welcome back our students, teachers and administrators and wish all of you a fantastic school year.

As the school year begins, there will be many students walking to school and crossing our streets. As a reminder to our drivers, please be extra vigilant of our keiki on our roadways starting next week.

I’m especially excited about the implementation of the Farm to School program into our Hilo schools this year. Led by Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture and The Kohala Center, the program emphasizes the use of more locally grown food within our public school cafeterias. The pilot phase took place last year at Kohala elementary, middle and high schools. This year, the program is expanding to Kalaniana‘ole Intermediate School, Ha‘aheo Elementary School and Keaukaha Elementary School.

Farm to School is focused on improving student health by reducing processed foods, sourcing local ingredients and serving nutritious meals cooked from scratch. The program will expand the relationship between Hawai‘i public schools and local agricultural communities. In the classroom, students will learn how their food choices as consumers impact their health, environment and community.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, I will be conducting a series of statewide visits to all University of Hawai‘i System campuses to speak with students, faculty, staff and administration. These site visits will be an opportunity to answer questions and hear concerns so that we can make the necessary changes to strive for a world class University of Hawai’i System.

To kick this off, I will be holding a Higher Education Town Hall on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 from 5:00PM to 7:00PM. I would like to invite the UH-Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College faculty, staff, students and administration. The town hall will be held at UH-Hilo in UCB 100 at the University Classroom Building.

Again, my office and staff are always available to you should you need any assistance. I hope to have an opportunity for us to talk story. Be sure to swing by my next Saturday with your Senator event on August 12, 2017.

Me ka haʻahaʻa,
Kaialiʻi Kahele

National Organization Selects Rep. Beth Fukumoto for Leadership Position

Representative Beth Fukumoto (Mililani Mauka, Mililani) has been selected to serve in a leadership role for the nation’s oldest non-partisan organization addressing the needs of elected women at all levels of government.

Rep. Beth Fukumoto

Fukumoto was appointed to serve as the 2017 Hawaii State Director for the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL).

“We need women now more than ever to start stepping into positions of influence in government. I’m proud to be partnering with an organization that has a long history of reinforcing female leaders,” said Fukumoto.

“We are so proud that Representative Fukumoto has accepted a leadership position in our Foundation,” stated Minnesota State Senator Carrie Ruud, NFWL’s 2017 Chair. “NFWL’s theme for 2017 is leadership and Representative Fukumoto exemplifies this theme. She will play a key role in aiding elected women in Hawaii, as we continue to grow as an organization.”

Photo of Rep. Beth Fukumoto at the Hawaii Women’s March in January, 2017 by Rep. Fukumoto’s office.

Fukumoto begins serving in her new position immediately and will hold this office through the end of 2018.

Elected women from across the country will gather in Minneapolis, Minnesota from November 14-18, for NFWL’s 2017 Annual Conference to identify effective solutions to some of the nation’s most timely and pressing issues. Fostering a non-partisan environment that encourages dialogue and the sharing of information and experiences, women leaders are able to build coalitions, share the concerns of their constituents, and identify out-of-the-box solutions to the most pressing issues facing their communities today.

About the National Foundation For Women Legislators, Inc. (NFWL)
Through annual educational and networking events, the National Foundation for Women Legislators supports elected women from all levels of governance. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, NFWL does not take ideological positions on public policy issues, but rather serves as a forum for women legislators to be empowered through information and experience. www.womenlegislators.org

Committee Assignments for the Second Biennium of the Twenty-Ninth Legislature Announced

The committee assignments for the Second Biennium of the Twenty-Ninth Legislature were announced today and it reflects the division of the former Judiciary and Labor committee into the two separate committees, Labor (LBR) and Judiciary (JDC) committees:

  • President: Ronald D. Kouchi
  • Majority Floor Leader: Will Espero
  • Vice President: Michelle N. Kidani
  • Majority Whip: Kaiali’i Kahele
  • Majority Leader: J. Kalani English
  • Majority Whip: Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran
  • Majority Caucus Leader: Brickwood Galuteria

AGRICULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT (AEN) – Gabbard, Mike (Chair) Riviere, Gil (Vice Chair) Nishihara, Clarence K. Rhoads, Karl Ruderman, Russell E.

COMMERCE, CONSUMER PROTECTION, AND HEALTH (CPH) – Baker, Rosalyn H. (Chair) Jill N. Tokuda (Vice Chair) Chang, Stanley Espero, Will Ihara, Jr., Les Nishihara, Clarence K. Ruderman, Russell E.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TOURISM, AND TECHNOLOGY (ETT) –  Wakai, Glenn (Chair) Taniguchi, Brian T. (Vice Chair) Baker, Rosalyn H. Galuteria, Brickwood Thielen, Laura H.

EDUCATION (EDU) – Kidani, Michelle N. (Chair) Kahele, Kaiali’i (Vice Chair) Espero, Will Riviere, Gil Taniguchi, Brian T.

GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS (GVO) – Kim, Donna Mercado (Chair) Ruderman, Russell E. (Vice Chair) Galuteria, Brickwood Keith-Agaran, Gilbert S.C. Rhoads, Karl

HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS (HWN) – Shimabukuro, Maile S. L. (Chair) Galuteria, Brickwood (Vice Chair) English, J. Kalani Green, Josh Riviere, Gil

HIGHER EDUCATION (HRE) – Kahele, Kaiali’i (Chair) Kim, Donna Mercado (Vice Chair) Espero, Will Keith-Agaran, Gilbert S. C. Kidani, Michelle N.

HOUSING (HOU) – Espero, Will (Chair) Harimoto, Breene (Vice Chair) Kahele, Kaiali’i Nishihara, Clarence K. Shimabukuro, Maile S. L.

HUMAN SERVICES (HMS) – Green, Josh (Chair) Chang, Stanley (Vice Chair) Harimoto, Breene Tokuda, Jill N. Wakai, Glenn

LABOR (LBR) – Tokuda, Jill N. (Chair) English, J. Kalani (Vice Chair) Chang, Stanley Ihara, Jr., Les Shimabukuro, Maile S. L.

JUDICIARY (JDC) – Taniguchi, Brian T. (Chair) Rhoads, Karl (Vice Chair) Gabbard, Mike Kim, Donna Mercado Thielen, Laura H.

PUBLIC SAFETY, INTERGOVERNMENTAL, AND MILITARY AFFAIRS – (PSM) Nishihara, Clarence K. (Chair) Wakai, Glenn (Vice Chair) Baker, Rosalyn H. Ihara, Jr., Les Thielen, Laura H.

TRANSPORTATION AND ENERGY (TRE) – Inouye, Lorraine R. (Chair) Espero, Will (Vice Chair) English, J. Kalani Harimoto, Breene Shimabukuro, Maile S. L.

WATER AND LAND (WTL) – Rhoads, Karl (Chair) Gabbard, Mike (Vice Chair) Inouye, Lorraine R. Kim, Donna Mercado Thielen, Laura H.

WAYS AND MEANS (WAM) – Dela Cruz, Donovan M. (Chair) Keith-Agaran, Gilbert S.C. (Vice Chair) English, J. Kalani Galuteria, Brickwood Harimoto, Breene Inouye, Lorraine R. Kahele, Kaiali’i Kidani, Michelle N. Riviere, Gil Shimabukuro, Maile S. L. Wakai, Glenn

2017 Rusty Scalpel Award Winner Is…

HB 375, CD 1 (Act 214, Session Laws of Hawaii 2017) has been selected by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause Hawaii for their 2017 “Rusty Scalpel” award. The “Rusty Scalpel” award recognizes enactment of a bill whose subject has been substantially amended without opportunity for legislative review as required by the Hawaii Constitution.Article III, Section 14 of our State Constitution provides “Each law shall embrace but one subject which shall be expressed in its title.”  HB 375 was titled “Relating to Taxation”.   When introduced, HB 375 proposed amending income tax rates to negate any income tax liability for those at or below poverty thresholds. The Senate Ways and Means Committee was the first to drastically amend the bill, gutting its contents, and replacing it with provisions to repeal the sunset date for the refundable food/excise tax credit. Then during Conference Committee, the bill was drastically altered to appropriate $1 million, subject to a dollar for dollar match by the private sector, to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, working in conjunction with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, for projects to address homelessness in tourist and resort areas.

Corie Tanida, of Common Cause Hawaii said, “While addressing homelessness in Hawaii is important and commendable, an ‘appropriation’ is not the same as ‘taxation’.  The final version of this bill doesn’t pass the relatively ‘low bar’ of having the bill’s subject match the bill’s title.”

Article III, Section 15 of our State Constitution provides that “No bill shall become law unless it shall pass three readings in each house on separate days.”  The unambiguous intent is to provide  the House and Senate, separately, the  opportunity to thoroughly review every single bill.  Amending a bill’s subject in conference committee without such review ignores this Constitutional requirement.

According to Ann Shaver, President of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii, “The 2017 session was a ‘Good News, Bad News’ situation.  HB 375, CD 1 was the only real candidate for our 2017 ‘Rusty Scalpel’ award.  On the other hand, HB375, CD1 was the worst we’ve seen in the five years we have presented this award.”  On July 12, 2017, without the Governor’s signature, HB 375 became Act 214, Session Laws of Hawaii 2017.

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Hawaii Governor Vetoes Aquarium, Tiny House and Other Bills

Gov. David Ige announced that he has vetoed 13 of 15 bills on his Intent to Veto list.

HB 523 Relating to Recycling and HB 575 Relating to Public Lands will become law.

VETO LIST:

SB 1240         RELATING TO AQUATIC LIFE

This bill requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to define “sustainable” and establish a policy for sustainable collection practices through take limits. This bill also prohibits the DLNR from issuing new aquarium fish permits to use fine meshed traps or fine meshed nets and prohibits the transfer of permits after five years.

Rationale: Since the release of the Intent to Veto List on June 26, this issue has been highlighted across numerous local and national media outlets. The Office of the Governor has received thousands of phone calls and emails from constituents expressing their support for and opposition to this bill. The one thing everyone can agree on is that one of Hawai‘i’s most valuable resources, the coral reef, must be protected. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and Gov. Ige agree that sustainable policies and practices are needed. The governor has no objection to the first part of the bill that requires the DLNR to define “sustainable” and establish policies for sustainable collection.

The DLNR is committed to working with all stakeholders to come up with a better solution. Discussions have begun on “limited entry” aquarium fisheries, expanding Fishery Replenishment Areas (FRAs) to O‘ahu, capping permit numbers, addressing catch limits, and establishing permit fees. Gov. Ige is committed to introducing legislation and/or administrative rules that will properly address all concerns, and create policy that will establish Hawai‘i as the best managed sustainable nearshore fishery in the world.

Regarding this measure, the governor has concerns that the science does not support the claims made in this bill. In West Hawai‘i, where approximately 80 percent of Hawai‘i’s aquarium catch comes from, FRAs were established to reverse the decline in fish populations. The Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and the DLNR have collected data over 17 years and completed more than 6,700 surveys in this area, and have found that aquarium fish populations are generally stable or increasing. Unfortunately, there is no similar data for O‘ahu, which is the other location where aquarium fish are caught. Based on the extensive scientific data from West Hawai‘i, it would be premature to phase out aquarium collecting permits.

Furthermore, it must be understood that this bill does not prohibit fish collecting. It simply prohibits the issuance of new permits to use small meshed nets and traps. The meshed nets and traps are an important tool for aquarium fish collectors. There is hope that this will eventually phase out the industry. This would take decades as currently proposed. The worldwide demand for aquarium species could lead to new and more destructive ways of collection.

SB 410           RELATING TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

This measure broadens the scope of collective bargaining negotiations by requiring negotiations on the implementation of terms and conditions of employment, including making these violations grievable by employees who disagree with such working conditions.

Rationale: This bill directly impacts the ability of state departments to effectively manage its workforce by negating management rights to direct its workforce and requiring union consent on such matters as assignment, transfer and discipline.

SB 562           RELATING TO TORT LIABILITY

This bill requires the Attorney General to defend any civil action or proceeding brought in any county, based on any negligent or wrongful act or omission of a lifeguard who provides lifeguard services at a state beach park.

Rationale: This bill is objectionable because it requires the Attorney General to defend the counties for any civil action or proceeding, without exception. Although the liability protections of Act 170 lapsed on June 30, 2017, the Attorney General will defend any civil action or proceeding based on acts or omissions of county lifeguards working on state beaches that are within the scope of the lifeguard’s duties.

HB 1414        RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION

This bill requires the auditor to investigate and report on problems with the Department of Taxation’s tax system modernization project.

Rationale: The Department of Taxation is awaiting the findings and results of an independent verification and validation of the tax system modernization project, a study being done by an independent contractor. The State Auditor also stated that it may be difficult to identify and assess operational issues until the project is completed and there has been sufficient time for the department and users to identify any operational problems.

HB 1309        RELATING TO GRANTS

This measure requires the Director of Finance to seek repayment of operating grants appropriated by the Legislature, if the grantee discontinues the activities or services approved in the grant.

Rationale: This bill is contrary to the intent of Chapter 42F, Hawai‘i Revised Statues, which authorizes the Legislature to appropriate general funds to nongovernmental organizations for operations serving the public, only to require the reimbursement of such funds at a later date. Further, the Director of Finance does not have the capacity to monitor all grantee programs, and relies on each state agency to enforce the provisions of the grant application and contract between the agency and grantee. It would be more appropriate for repayment negotiations to be handled by the expending agency that has had the initial contractual relationship with the grantee, and not the Department of Budget and Finance.

SB 722           RELATING TO EFFICIENCY MEASURES

This measure requires the Director of Finance and a selected state department to develop and implement the efficiency measures pilot project as part of the state’s budget system.

Rationale: Imposing additional requirements for data collection on our state budget system requires re-programming older software on mainframe computers at a time when the state is upgrading its IT systems to cloud-based applications. Limited state resources would be better spent updating our budget IT programs into cloud-based applications.

SB 713           RELATING TO BUDGET DOCUMENTS

This measure requires the six-year program and financial plan and budget to include information on tax expenditures.

Rationale: Chapter 23, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, currently requires the State Auditor to conduct periodic reviews of certain state tax credits, exemptions, exclusions, and deductions, and report such amounts for the previous three years, the current year, and the ensuing two years. These reviews and reports are essentially the same information as the additional reporting required in this bill. The Department of Taxation needs to focus its existing resources on improving tax collections by completing the implementation of our tax system modernization, rather than providing additional reports that may be of limited use to the overall budget process.

SB 1588        RELATING TO GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS

This measure prohibits the issuance of general obligation bonds to finance the repair and maintenance of capital assets where the repair and maintenance costs incurred add value to, and prolong the life of the assets for a period of less than ten years.

Rationale: This measure aims to more closely align the financing of debt with the depreciation of the state’s assets. However, like many other state and county governments, Hawai‘i is faced with a growing number of deferred maintenance projects and a limited pool of operation funds for such projects. Further, the record-keeping necessary to ensure compliance with the tiered structuring of the debt could not be done within existing resources, and would therefore increase the costs of the state’s debt management program.

SB 1073         RELATING TO THE STATE FOUNDATION ON CULTURE & THE ARTS

This measure appropriates funds to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to support its artist fellowship program.

SB 1074        RELATING TO THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE HAWAII STATE CAPITOL

This bill appropriates funds to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to plan and coordinate the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Hawai‘i State Capitol.

Rationale for SB 1073 & SB 1074: These bills appropriate funds from the Works of Art Special Fund, which generally consists of proceeds from tax-exempt bonds. Under the Internal Revenue Code, proceeds from tax-exempt bonds cannot be used to finance operating expenses except under limited circumstances. This could potentially jeopardize the fund’s tax exempt status and adversely affect the state’s bond ratings.

HB 2               RELATING TO AGRICULTURE

This bill authorizes the placement of “tiny homes” of 500 square feet or less of living space within the state agriculture district of Hawai‘i County. These “tiny homes” will be used by farm workers or their immediate families on land currently being used for agricultural production.

Rationale: The Hawai‘i County Zoning Code (HCC Chapter 25) already allows for a “farm dwelling” as a permitted use of agricultural-zoned lands. By Zoning Code definition, a “farm dwelling” means a single-family dwelling located on or used in connection with a farm, or if the agricultural activity provides income to the family occupying the dwelling.

In 2015 and 2016, a total of 27 additional farm dwellings were approved by the County of Hawai‘i Planning Department. During that period, all applications for farm dwellings were granted. The administration is committed to working with Mayor Harry Kim and the County of Hawai‘i on addressing the affordable housing issue for farm workers on Hawai‘i Island.

HB 727          RELATING TO MOTORCYCLES

This measure allows the operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter to proceed cautiously between stopped lanes of traffic and on the shoulder lane of highways. The intent is to alleviate congestion and reduce the risk of injury or loss of life.

There is concern that this will compromise road safety. The shoulder lane is designed to accommodate stopped vehicles and emergency vehicles on highways, and bicycles on arterial roadways. While the intent of the bill is to reduce risk or injury or loss of life, there is concern that allowing shoulder lane use to these types of vehicles will instead create more danger for the operators of these vehicles.

HB 627          RELATING TO PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

This measure establishes the Office of Public-Private Partnerships within the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and appropriate funds for a state public-private partnership coordinator position.

Rationale: Rationale: My administration is fully supportive of public-private partnerships when they are shaped in the right way.  Over the past few years, many departments have engaged in exploring public-private partnerships to leverage private monies to improve on the services provided to the public. Recent affordable housing projects such as Kapolei Lofts are prime examples of how the state can partner with private developers to build affordable units on state lands.

However, there is concern that the lone position of a state public-private partnership coordinator will not be sufficient to adequately coordinate interagency collaboration, maintain analysis reports, and develop future public-private partnership opportunities. Having one office manage all public-private partnership contracts, proposals, and negotiations for the state may create a bottleneck that will slow the progress for agencies already involved in these partnerships.

HB 523 Relating to Recycling will become law with the governor’s signature.

HB 575 Relating to Public Lands will become law without the governor’s signature.