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We have reached an important point in the movement for Jones Act reform. The old arguments in favor of the Act are no longer persuasive in light of the overwhelming evidence that it raises the cost of living and doing business in Hawaii. With strong political interests in favor of maintaining the status quo, it is important that we create our own irresistible tide for change. And the appearance of this article in the Garden Island is a sign of very good things to come:

Jones Act is costly for Hawaii

It’s time for Hawaii to receive an exemption from the Jones Act. There’s no doubt it’s unnecessarily driving up costs for islanders and it no longer makes sense. The arguments in support of it don’t hold water.

As Sen. Sam Slom said, the Jones Act was originally meant to protect the shipping industry and maritime trade, but almost a century has gone by and it’s easy to see that the law does not serve its original purpose. Its effect today is that people in isolated areas who depend on shipping pay more than the rest of the country for basic items.

 

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Dr. Kim Kepner-Sybounmy, chief of staff for Slom, is another proponent of Jones Act reform. She has produced a short documentary film to educate the public about the Act, which will be shown Friday in the Capitol Auditorium.

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“On a personal level, like many people in Hawaii, my family is constantly looking long term to decide whether we can afford to retire here. My concern is that Hawaii, along with the other noncontiguous locations, makes up only 2 percent of the population of the U.S. yet we shoulder most of the cost burden of the expensive Jones Act ships,” Kepner-Sybounmy wrote. “This unnecessary cost is frustrating, and it makes you wonder how many new businesses are never started and how many existing businesses are prevented from expanding due to the high costs for shipping as a result of the Jones Act.”

Read the article in full here.

Jones Act: Drowning in Shipping Costs will be screened tomorrow, Friday, February 27th, at 12pm in the Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium.