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President’s Corner

‘Defense wins championships’

Legendary football coach Bear Bryant is credited with saying: “Offense wins games … defense wins championships.” If that’s the case, then the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is the Steel Curtain, the ’85 Bears and the 2000 Ravens of legislative advocacy. What you see might not always be flashy, but it

Read More →

Requiem for GET exemptions

As Shakespeare might have put it: “Friends, neighbors, taxpayers, lend me your ears. I have come to bury the Hawaii Legislature, not to praise it. The bad laws our legislators enact live after them, while the good are oft interred in committees.” That is certainly what happened to the many good proposals

Read More →

An amazing day at the Capitol

Yesterday was an amazing day at the state Capitol. After four months of hashing out the fate of more than 4,000 bills that were introduced in the 2023 Legislature, it finally became clear which big-ticket items were going to make it to the governor’s desk for signing — or hit

Read More →

Red Hill crisis deserves Jones Act waiver

Oahu residents are keenly aware of the yearslong saga in which leakage from the U.S. Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Moanalua has been contaminating the island’s water supply, sickening residents and forcing thousands of people out of their homes. The situation became so bad that the Pentagon

Read More →

‘Transparency’ or unwarranted government meddling?

Every year we see a handful of bills at the Legislature that put good intentions ahead of practical experience. Even when the people who would be most affected by the proposals explain that they are unworkable or counterproductive, those good intentions still keep the bills moving forward. Happily, many of

Read More →

Counties must prioritize property tax relief

No one likes the idea of our county governments profiting from Hawaii’s high cost of living. But that’s what is going to happen soon unless we engineer some property tax relief. Thanks to higher property assessments statewide, Hawaii homeowners and others are facing massive increases in their property taxes. That’s

Read More →

Is there life after Downtown Walmart?

It seems a lot of people were surprised last week to hear that the huge Walmart store in Downtown Honolulu will be closing this month. It’s tempting to speculate about what this means for the future of retail in the area, but we shouldn’t make broad assumptions based on the closure of

Read More →

HTA by any other name is still HTA

Photo by Charley Myers Another year, another attempt to reform the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Last year, the question was whether the Legislature should defund the HTA, which was established in 1998 to promote tourism to the islands. This year, some legislators have put forth a bill, SB1522, that would replace the

Read More →

The honeymoon is over; what about our tax cuts?

Wednesday was Gov. Josh Green’s 100th day in office, and I think it’s safe to say his honeymoon period with voters and the Legislature has come to an end. When he took office in January, the state was looking at a budget surplus of about $2.6 billion, and there was a lot of excitement

Read More →

Green’s Aloha Stadium plan on right track

It’s not easy being a governor when criticism can come from every quarter, no matter what you propose. That’s why I want to commend Gov. Josh Green for attempting to cut in half the cost of redeveloping the old Aloha Stadium on 25 acres of land in Halawa. Under the

Read More →

‘Defense wins championships’

Legendary football coach Bear Bryant is credited with saying: “Offense wins games … defense wins championships.” If that’s the case, then the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is the Steel Curtain, the ’85 Bears and the 2000 Ravens of legislative advocacy. What you see might not always be flashy, but it

Read More →

Requiem for GET exemptions

As Shakespeare might have put it: “Friends, neighbors, taxpayers, lend me your ears. I have come to bury the Hawaii Legislature, not to praise it. The bad laws our legislators enact live after them, while the good are oft interred in committees.” That is certainly what happened to the many good proposals

Read More →

An amazing day at the Capitol

Yesterday was an amazing day at the state Capitol. After four months of hashing out the fate of more than 4,000 bills that were introduced in the 2023 Legislature, it finally became clear which big-ticket items were going to make it to the governor’s desk for signing — or hit

Read More →

Red Hill crisis deserves Jones Act waiver

Oahu residents are keenly aware of the yearslong saga in which leakage from the U.S. Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Moanalua has been contaminating the island’s water supply, sickening residents and forcing thousands of people out of their homes. The situation became so bad that the Pentagon

Read More →

‘Transparency’ or unwarranted government meddling?

Every year we see a handful of bills at the Legislature that put good intentions ahead of practical experience. Even when the people who would be most affected by the proposals explain that they are unworkable or counterproductive, those good intentions still keep the bills moving forward. Happily, many of

Read More →

Counties must prioritize property tax relief

No one likes the idea of our county governments profiting from Hawaii’s high cost of living. But that’s what is going to happen soon unless we engineer some property tax relief. Thanks to higher property assessments statewide, Hawaii homeowners and others are facing massive increases in their property taxes. That’s

Read More →

Is there life after Downtown Walmart?

It seems a lot of people were surprised last week to hear that the huge Walmart store in Downtown Honolulu will be closing this month. It’s tempting to speculate about what this means for the future of retail in the area, but we shouldn’t make broad assumptions based on the closure of

Read More →

HTA by any other name is still HTA

Photo by Charley Myers Another year, another attempt to reform the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Last year, the question was whether the Legislature should defund the HTA, which was established in 1998 to promote tourism to the islands. This year, some legislators have put forth a bill, SB1522, that would replace the

Read More →

The honeymoon is over; what about our tax cuts?

Wednesday was Gov. Josh Green’s 100th day in office, and I think it’s safe to say his honeymoon period with voters and the Legislature has come to an end. When he took office in January, the state was looking at a budget surplus of about $2.6 billion, and there was a lot of excitement

Read More →

Green’s Aloha Stadium plan on right track

It’s not easy being a governor when criticism can come from every quarter, no matter what you propose. That’s why I want to commend Gov. Josh Green for attempting to cut in half the cost of redeveloping the old Aloha Stadium on 25 acres of land in Halawa. Under the

Read More →