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Rail debt gimmick comes back to bite Honolulu taxpayers

The following commentary was originally published in Honolulu Civil Beat on Friday, April 7, 2023. _____________ In 2012, Honolulu officials thought they could protect the county’s credit rating by not counting bond issues for the Honolulu rail in the county’s “debt affordability limit.” But they were wrong. In early February,

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Kauai farmers and businesses need tax relief too

The following commentary was originally published in The Garden Island on Saturday, April 8, 2023. _____________ It’s budget season on the County of Kaua‘i, which means county lawmakers have been busy haggling over what to fund and what to cut in Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami’s proposed $402 million budget. The

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Kudos to U.S. Sen. Schatz for zoning reform initiative

The following commentary was published originally in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on March 7, 2023. __________ A new federal “Yes In My Backyard” grant program, spearheaded by Hawaii’s U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, deserves kudos for targeting barriers to new housing. The purpose of the program, enacted in December as a part

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Hawaii isle zoning review could lead to more housing

The following commentary was originally published March 5, 2023, by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. ___________ Hawaii island’s housing supply might get a boost in the near future, thanks to an effort underway to update the county’s zoning code. A project team working with the Hawaii County Department of Planning has been

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What is Hawaii’s general excise tax?

Hawaii’s state sales tax rate is often ranked among the lowest rates in the nation. But comparing Hawaii’s version of a sales tax to that of other states is like comparing apples and oranges because Hawaii doesn’t have a normal sales tax.  In fact, technically, Hawaii doesn’t have a sales

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One more good reason to throw an antiquated maritime law overboard

The following article was published originally on Feb. 4 in Travel Weekly. ____________ A U.S. maritime law enacted during the days before air travel is exporting American tourism dollars to countries such as Canada, Mexico and Aruba. The 1886 Passenger Vessel Services Act does this by preventing foreign-flagged or -built

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New England joins Hawaii, Puerto Rico as Jones Act victim

The following article was first published Sept. 27, 2022, by the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy in New Hampshire. The original headline was “How a protectionist shipping law could leave New England out in the cold.” ____________ Will New England have enough fuel this winter? The region’s six governors

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Biden misses opportunity to cut fuel costs via Jones Act waiver

Photos by Charley Myers Even supporters of the 102-year-old federal shipping law admit that its restrictions on competition add to the cost of our fuels With inflation at a 40-year high and per-gallon gasoline prices averaging $4.44 a gallon nationally and $5.60 in Hawaii,[1] politicians, business owners and the public

Read More →

Rail debt gimmick comes back to bite Honolulu taxpayers

The following commentary was originally published in Honolulu Civil Beat on Friday, April 7, 2023. _____________ In 2012, Honolulu officials thought they could protect the county’s credit rating by not counting bond issues for the Honolulu rail in the county’s “debt affordability limit.” But they were wrong. In early February,

Read More →

Kauai farmers and businesses need tax relief too

The following commentary was originally published in The Garden Island on Saturday, April 8, 2023. _____________ It’s budget season on the County of Kaua‘i, which means county lawmakers have been busy haggling over what to fund and what to cut in Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami’s proposed $402 million budget. The

Read More →

Kudos to U.S. Sen. Schatz for zoning reform initiative

The following commentary was published originally in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on March 7, 2023. __________ A new federal “Yes In My Backyard” grant program, spearheaded by Hawaii’s U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, deserves kudos for targeting barriers to new housing. The purpose of the program, enacted in December as a part

Read More →

Hawaii isle zoning review could lead to more housing

The following commentary was originally published March 5, 2023, by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. ___________ Hawaii island’s housing supply might get a boost in the near future, thanks to an effort underway to update the county’s zoning code. A project team working with the Hawaii County Department of Planning has been

Read More →

What is Hawaii’s general excise tax?

Hawaii’s state sales tax rate is often ranked among the lowest rates in the nation. But comparing Hawaii’s version of a sales tax to that of other states is like comparing apples and oranges because Hawaii doesn’t have a normal sales tax.  In fact, technically, Hawaii doesn’t have a sales

Read More →

One more good reason to throw an antiquated maritime law overboard

The following article was published originally on Feb. 4 in Travel Weekly. ____________ A U.S. maritime law enacted during the days before air travel is exporting American tourism dollars to countries such as Canada, Mexico and Aruba. The 1886 Passenger Vessel Services Act does this by preventing foreign-flagged or -built

Read More →

New England joins Hawaii, Puerto Rico as Jones Act victim

The following article was first published Sept. 27, 2022, by the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy in New Hampshire. The original headline was “How a protectionist shipping law could leave New England out in the cold.” ____________ Will New England have enough fuel this winter? The region’s six governors

Read More →

Biden misses opportunity to cut fuel costs via Jones Act waiver

Photos by Charley Myers Even supporters of the 102-year-old federal shipping law admit that its restrictions on competition add to the cost of our fuels With inflation at a 40-year high and per-gallon gasoline prices averaging $4.44 a gallon nationally and $5.60 in Hawaii,[1] politicians, business owners and the public

Read More →