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‘Smart’ spending cap would be wise for Maui

The Maui County Council is planning to increase property taxes to balance its proposed fiscal 2020 budget, but a far better option would be to impose a “smart” spending cap that would eventually bring its spending in line with its income — without raising taxes. A smart spending cap is set at

Read More →

Testimony on short-term rentals – Bill 89

May 8, 2019 To: Honolulu City Council From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii Joe Kent, Executive vice president Re: Bill 89 — Relating to Short-Term Rentals Comments Only Dear Council Members: The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments on Bill 89, which sets out certain regulations and

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Council busybodies should work less to help residents

Maui County Council members say they spend more than 40 hours per week on the job, and some of them want higher salaries to account for that hard work. But, like Hawaii’s late small-business guru George Mason, founding publisher of Pacific Business News, used to say, it’s not how hard

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More housing would boost Maui tax revenues

As Maui County lawmakers search under the couch cushions for loose change that would help them meet their budgetary goals, they should remember that finding extra cash could be easy, if they would only step out of the way of island homebuilders. That’s right: the county could boost its property

Read More →

State’s use of contractors just a hint of what could be

At least 11 of Hawaii’s state agencies have each saved thousands of dollars a year by privatizing some of their janitor positions, giving a rare glimpse of the savings that could be possible if more state and county agencies followed this approach. The private partnerships seem to be helping the

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Beware of Maui County’s ‘shiny new ball’

This article was originally published in The Maui News on Thursday, Nov. 29. Maui County Council members this month voted to “go vertical” and move forward on financing a proposed $81.2 million Wailuku Civic Complex, but policymakers would be wise to focus less on the expected benefits and more on the guaranteed

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HART’s P3 Plan Another Bad Sign For Rail

This article was originally published as a “Community Voice” in Civil Beat on Nov. 14, 2018. The Honolulu rail system is projected to lose millions of dollars every year after opening in 2026. So it’s baffling that any company would want to partner with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation

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Vacation rental fines inviting legal trouble

This article was published as a letter to the editor in The Maui News on Nov. 14, 2018. On Nov. 6, Maui voters decided to drastically increase the fines for illegal short-term vacation rentals on Maui, which could expose the county to dangerous legal challenges. Article I, Section 12 of

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Higher taxes do not make housing cheaper

Many Hawaii taxpayers breathed a sigh of relief after the state Supreme Court on Oct. 19 voided a ballot question that would’ve allowed the state to raise taxes on investment real property. Supporters of the proposal had argued that higher taxes could be the key to making housing in the

Read More →

Lower cost of living to help teachers, everyone

This was originally published as a letter to the editor in The Maui News on Oct. 28, 2018.  Lowering Hawaii’s cost of living would be a better way to help our public school teachers than the proposed constitutional amendment that was thrown out Oct. 19 by the Hawaii Supreme Court. The

Read More →

‘Smart’ spending cap would be wise for Maui

The Maui County Council is planning to increase property taxes to balance its proposed fiscal 2020 budget, but a far better option would be to impose a “smart” spending cap that would eventually bring its spending in line with its income — without raising taxes. A smart spending cap is set at

Read More →

Testimony on short-term rentals – Bill 89

May 8, 2019 To: Honolulu City Council From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii Joe Kent, Executive vice president Re: Bill 89 — Relating to Short-Term Rentals Comments Only Dear Council Members: The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments on Bill 89, which sets out certain regulations and

Read More →

Council busybodies should work less to help residents

Maui County Council members say they spend more than 40 hours per week on the job, and some of them want higher salaries to account for that hard work. But, like Hawaii’s late small-business guru George Mason, founding publisher of Pacific Business News, used to say, it’s not how hard

Read More →

More housing would boost Maui tax revenues

As Maui County lawmakers search under the couch cushions for loose change that would help them meet their budgetary goals, they should remember that finding extra cash could be easy, if they would only step out of the way of island homebuilders. That’s right: the county could boost its property

Read More →

State’s use of contractors just a hint of what could be

At least 11 of Hawaii’s state agencies have each saved thousands of dollars a year by privatizing some of their janitor positions, giving a rare glimpse of the savings that could be possible if more state and county agencies followed this approach. The private partnerships seem to be helping the

Read More →

Beware of Maui County’s ‘shiny new ball’

This article was originally published in The Maui News on Thursday, Nov. 29. Maui County Council members this month voted to “go vertical” and move forward on financing a proposed $81.2 million Wailuku Civic Complex, but policymakers would be wise to focus less on the expected benefits and more on the guaranteed

Read More →

HART’s P3 Plan Another Bad Sign For Rail

This article was originally published as a “Community Voice” in Civil Beat on Nov. 14, 2018. The Honolulu rail system is projected to lose millions of dollars every year after opening in 2026. So it’s baffling that any company would want to partner with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation

Read More →

Vacation rental fines inviting legal trouble

This article was published as a letter to the editor in The Maui News on Nov. 14, 2018. On Nov. 6, Maui voters decided to drastically increase the fines for illegal short-term vacation rentals on Maui, which could expose the county to dangerous legal challenges. Article I, Section 12 of

Read More →

Higher taxes do not make housing cheaper

Many Hawaii taxpayers breathed a sigh of relief after the state Supreme Court on Oct. 19 voided a ballot question that would’ve allowed the state to raise taxes on investment real property. Supporters of the proposal had argued that higher taxes could be the key to making housing in the

Read More →

Lower cost of living to help teachers, everyone

This was originally published as a letter to the editor in The Maui News on Oct. 28, 2018.  Lowering Hawaii’s cost of living would be a better way to help our public school teachers than the proposed constitutional amendment that was thrown out Oct. 19 by the Hawaii Supreme Court. The

Read More →