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Publications

How to facilitate more homebuidling in Hawaii

Changes to Hawaii’s zoning codes are essentialand can be effected at no cost to Hawaii taxpayers

The 'empty homes' theory of Hawaii's housing crisis

A tax on empty homes might increase rental occupancies and generate tax revenues, but there is no evidence showing it would increase the state’s housing supply or reduce housing or rental pries

How Hawaii's county lawmakers can provide tax relief to offset higher property assessments.

The link between increased valuations and higher property taxes can be broken through rate cuts, exemptions and tax credits

How changing Hawaii’s licensing laws could improve healthcare access

This brief makes the point that Hawaii’s occupational licensing laws have made it difficult for out-of-state medical personnel to work in the islands, thereby contributing to the state’s documented shortage of healthcare workers.

The case for exempting medical services from Hawaii's general excise tax

Because the GET is a gross receipts tax, it becomes a significant overhead expense for private practice physicians, making it extremely difficult to be profitable — especially for new doctors who are just starting out and still paying their student loans.

The 'outsider' theory of Hawaii's housing crisis

A pathbreaking analysis of nationwide data dispels the popular belief that “outsider” homebuyers are the cause of the state’s housing woes.

Alaska: The Jones Act's original victim

In 1922, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Jones’ discriminatory legislation on the grounds that Alaska was a territory, not a state. But even when Alaska finally became a state — in 1959, along with Hawaii — the economic and social harm continued.

Five myths about the Jones Act

A handy guide addressing five key arguments that Jones Act defenders just won’t let die.

Lockdowns Versus Liberty: How Hawaii's Experience in 2020-21 Demonstrates the Need to Revise the State's Emergency Powers

Hawaii’s emergency-management laws need to be reformed to prevent the extensive exercise of unchecked power by the governor. This report recommends specifically that the state Legislature step in and restore the checks and balances that have gone missing during the public health emergency, declared in an effort to deal with the spread of COVID-19.

Cruising in Hawaii: How the federal government's 1886 Passenger Vessel Services Act has limited the Aloha State's tourism potential

Ocean cruising is a natural for Hawaii’s tourism industry, but federal law has held it back for more than a century. The report reviews the history of the federal 1886 Passenger Vessel Services Act, including its relationship to Hawaii, and concludes that changes are needed if tourism in the Aloha State is to reach its full diversified potential.

Reform the Hawaii LUC to encourage more housing

The state Land Use Commission has strayed from its core mission, leading to fewer homes and higher home prices for Hawaii residents.

Quantifying the cost of the Jones Act to Hawaii

The protectionist federal maritime law known as the Jones Act costs the average Hawaii family almost $1,800 a year, according to this groundbreaking independent study. The law overall costs Hawaii $1.2 billion annually, including 9,100 jobs and $148 million in taxes.

Road map to prosperity: How Hawaii can recover and even excel after the coronavirus lockdown

This policy brief offers almost two dozen proposals regarding how Hawaii can recover and even excel after the state’s economically devastating coronavirus lockdown.

How Hawaii's GET adds to island healthcare costs

Exempting medical services from Hawaii’s general excise tax would result in a $222 million tax cut for consumers and healthcare professionals.

State of the State Budget 2020

Hawaii’s state budget does not have big enough cushion to deal with a deep recession, if one should hit, so lawmakers should rein in spending and build up a financial reserve, rather than dig deeper into taxpayers’ pockets.

How to revive contracting as a policy option in Hawaii

This report focuses on how to deal with the so-called Konno decision of 1997, in which the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that civil service positions, with few exceptions, cannot be performed by private-sector workers, leaving the state with little flexibility in crafting public policy.

Build up or build out? How to make housing more affordable

Hawaii has the least affordable housing of any state in the nation, and that is almost wholly because of government land-use regulations that have in effect limited housing development to just 5 percent of the state.

Economic Freedom of North America 2018

The Economic Freedom of North America 2018 report outlines Hawaii’s statistical paradox — Hawaii moved up a surprising eight notches this year in a national ranking measuring economic freedom in all 50 states, from 45 in 2017 to 37, but its overall economic freedom worsened.

How to resolve Hawaii's public pension debt crisis

The state Employee Retirement System has almost $13 billion in unfunded liabilities, which could jeopardize future public worker retirement benefits and impose a significant burden on Hawaii taxpayers.

Economic Freedom of North America 2017

Hawaii moved up a notch nationwide in 2017 in terms of economic freedom, but the Aloha State still is near the bottom, according to factors from 2015 analyzed in the Economic Freedom of North America report.

Economic Freedom of North America 2016

The report shows that Hawaii ranks near the bottom in terms of economic freedom, at number 46.

THE JONES ACT IN PERSPECTIVE: A survey of costs and effects of the 1920 Merchant Marine Act

The report shows that Hawaii ranks near the bottom in terms of economic freedom, at number 46.

THE JONES ACT IN PERSPECTIVE: A survey of costs and effects of the 1920 Merchant Marine Act

The report shows that Hawaii ranks near the bottom in terms of economic freedom, at number 46.