FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Think tank cites need for tax reform in reversing decline 

HONOLULU, HAWAII–April 12, 2016–The decline of agriculture on Maui and the need to embrace policies that will rejuvenate the industry were the focus of a Grassroot Institute event tonight at the Maui Country Club. A large crowd attended and listened as Mayor Alan Arakawa, Councilwoman Elle Cochran, and Grassroot President Keli’i Akina, Ph.D. discussed the future of farming on Maui.

In remarks that spanned from discussion of the effect of taxes and regulation to housing costs and property rights, Dr. Akina spoke about the need to work together for reform. Citing a report for the Department of Agriculture that found Hawaii has lost 540,000 acres of crop and pastureland since 1980 (a 57% decrease), the Grassroot President considered the causes of that decline and the struggles that farmers currently face.

The evening’s speeches resonated with the assembled crowd, many of whom were part of the effort to defeat BF-70, an ordinance that would have dramatically increased taxes on agricultural lands. During the question and answer segment of the evening, some of those present expressed concern about the problems of outdated and restrictive government regulations that work against the agricultural industry.

“In many ways, the problems that Maui agriculture is facing reflect  problems the state as a whole is facing,” stated Dr. Akina. “Hawaii’s national rank for economic competitiveness is now 42nd in the nation, largely due to high taxation and regulation. The policies that would help business in our state, from lower taxes to market-oriented reform, are necessary to help our agriculture industry as well.”

Dr. Akina continued: “In a very real sense, rejuvenating Maui agriculture is a way forward for Hawaii, both economically and culturally.”
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelsey Meehan at (808) 591-9193 or email kmeehan@grassrootinstitute.org.

About the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii:
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market, and limited, accountable government throughout Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region.  Read more about us athttp://www.grassrootinstitute.org/
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GrassrootInstitute
Donate to help us grow: http://tinyurl.com/GrassrootDonate
Tweet us at http://twitter.com/grassroothawaii

About Grassroot President:
Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.,  is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader in Hawaii.  Currently, he is President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a public policy think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government.  An expert in East-West Philosophy and ethics, Dr. Akina has taught at universities in China and the United States and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawaii Pacific University.  Dr. Akina was a candidate for Trustee at Large of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the 2014 General Election run-off.

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