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Op-Eds

SB56 tax scare could have long-lasting effect

This commentary was originally published in the March 20, 2021, edition of Hawai Filipino Chronicle. ___________ Hawaii residents were spooked last week by Senate passage of a bill that would increase the state’s highest personal income tax from 11% to 16% on annual incomes of more than $200,000, making it

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Add checks to power of governor during emergencies

Photo by Charley Myers This commentary was first published, with a different headline, on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. ________________ After almost a year spent in a state of emergency, it’s time for the people of Hawaii to get a bigger say in the state’s COVID-19 response. Gov. David Ige has

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Enlist private sector to help trim state, county budgets

This commentary was published originally in The Garden Island newspaper on Nov. 16, 2020. _______________ Gov. David Ige is rightly considering cuts to the state budget to compensate for Hawai‘i’s dizzying drop in tax revenues due to the coronavirus lockdown. One tool that could help would be for the state

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Raiding EUTF is deja vu all over again

This commentary was originally published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Sunday, November 15, 2020. ________________ Gov. David Ige in his 2018 State of the State address said, “One value that has guided this administration is to not simply pass our debts to our kids and grandkids.” But that value seems

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Great Lockdown Crash of 2020 is wake-up call for Hawaii lawmakers

This commentary was originally published, without the footnotes, in The Garden Island on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. _____________ Warren Buffett once said, “You only learn who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out.”[1] That includes states, and now that the tide has receded, it’s easy to see that

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An arcane federal law puts Young Brothers on the ropes

This commentary originally was published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Sept. 28, 2020. _____________ Transporting freight between Hawaii ports just became significantly more expensive, thanks to a 46% rate increase granted in August to Hawaii’s monopoly tug and barge company, Young Brothers LLC. Effective Sept. 1, the increase was awarded

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Keeping watch in Hawaii

This article was originally published in the “Proof Positive” section of Midweek on Sept. 16, 2020. _______________ Few things demonstrate the need for government watchdog groups like a statewide emergency. At the nonpartisan Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, our small but productive staff began the year preparing for another legislative session. Our

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Ige’s EUTF funding dodge will come back to haunt us

This article was originally published by Honolulu Civil Beat on Sept. 21, 2020. ______________ Faced with a $2.3 billion budget shortfall caused by Hawaii’s coronavirus lockdowns, Gov. David Ige on July 17 suspended the state’s required fiscal 2021 payment of $388 million to the government employees’ health benefits fund. It was a desperate move

Read More →

SB56 tax scare could have long-lasting effect

This commentary was originally published in the March 20, 2021, edition of Hawai Filipino Chronicle. ___________ Hawaii residents were spooked last week by Senate passage of a bill that would increase the state’s highest personal income tax from 11% to 16% on annual incomes of more than $200,000, making it

Read More →

Add checks to power of governor during emergencies

Photo by Charley Myers This commentary was first published, with a different headline, on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. ________________ After almost a year spent in a state of emergency, it’s time for the people of Hawaii to get a bigger say in the state’s COVID-19 response. Gov. David Ige has

Read More →

Enlist private sector to help trim state, county budgets

This commentary was published originally in The Garden Island newspaper on Nov. 16, 2020. _______________ Gov. David Ige is rightly considering cuts to the state budget to compensate for Hawai‘i’s dizzying drop in tax revenues due to the coronavirus lockdown. One tool that could help would be for the state

Read More →

Raiding EUTF is deja vu all over again

This commentary was originally published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Sunday, November 15, 2020. ________________ Gov. David Ige in his 2018 State of the State address said, “One value that has guided this administration is to not simply pass our debts to our kids and grandkids.” But that value seems

Read More →

Great Lockdown Crash of 2020 is wake-up call for Hawaii lawmakers

This commentary was originally published, without the footnotes, in The Garden Island on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. _____________ Warren Buffett once said, “You only learn who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out.”[1] That includes states, and now that the tide has receded, it’s easy to see that

Read More →

An arcane federal law puts Young Brothers on the ropes

This commentary originally was published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Sept. 28, 2020. _____________ Transporting freight between Hawaii ports just became significantly more expensive, thanks to a 46% rate increase granted in August to Hawaii’s monopoly tug and barge company, Young Brothers LLC. Effective Sept. 1, the increase was awarded

Read More →

Keeping watch in Hawaii

This article was originally published in the “Proof Positive” section of Midweek on Sept. 16, 2020. _______________ Few things demonstrate the need for government watchdog groups like a statewide emergency. At the nonpartisan Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, our small but productive staff began the year preparing for another legislative session. Our

Read More →

Ige’s EUTF funding dodge will come back to haunt us

This article was originally published by Honolulu Civil Beat on Sept. 21, 2020. ______________ Faced with a $2.3 billion budget shortfall caused by Hawaii’s coronavirus lockdowns, Gov. David Ige on July 17 suspended the state’s required fiscal 2021 payment of $388 million to the government employees’ health benefits fund. It was a desperate move

Read More →