Tom Yamachika: Getting permitting out of home maintenance

This week we continue to focus on the City and County of Honolulu, where efforts are under way to deal with the highly backlogged state of affairs at our Department of Planning and Permitting. As we’ve previously reported, a 2020 City audit (Report No. 20-01) (Exhibit 4.3) found that a typical residential building permit application took 108 days to process, while one for a commercial project ($1 – $10 million) took 432 days. That is a very long time to be just waiting for a permit.

Tom Yamachika: The empty homes tax

One of the ideas that has been kicking around in the state and county legislatures for a couple of years now is the idea of an “empty homes tax.” The idea seems to be gaining steam now since our federal court has struck down Honolulu’s recent ordinance clamping down on transient vacation rentals.

Buy an EV now or later? The tax credit rules are about to change

DETROIT — Consumers who can find an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid that qualifies for the $7,500 tax credit now may want to snap it up before the end of the year, experts say, while others wanting to purchase EVs that aren’t eligible might be better off waiting until 2023.

Tom Yamachika: ‘Dedicated funding source’? Nah

I’m sometimes asked how we can achieve true fiscal reform here in the Aloha State. It’s easy to imagine an end goal, with government spending within its means and with no gargantuan liabilities (the big two are the State’s defined benefit pension plan and the EUTF health system for state retirees) hanging over our heads like swords of Damocles. But to know which direction we need to travel, we need to know where we are now. This, unfortunately, is a big problem.

Tom Yamachika: Yes, people move because of taxes

This week, we focus on a study that has just come out of the national Tax Foundation (with whom the Tax Foundation of Hawaii shares a name but not much else). That study looks at IRS and census data to see if tax considerations affect people’s decisions to move from one state and to another.

Tom Yamachika: State financial condition still dismal

Here in Hawaii, we have weathered a major pandemic. The primary driver of our economy is, and has been for a long time, tourism. Tourism was in the toilet during the pandemic, with our Governor going so far as to publicly urge tourists to stay home or go somewhere else. Now, with the brunt of the pandemic apparently past us and tourism levels back up to pre-pandemic levels, and with bazillions of federal dollars coming in to prop up our teetering economy, you would think we would be in reasonable shape financially, right?

Worsening inflation will pressure Fed to keep raising rates

WASHINGTON — Inflation in the United States accelerated in September, with the cost of housing and other necessities intensifying pressure on households, wiping out pay gains and ensuring that the Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates aggressively.

Tom Yamachika: Love-hate relationship with P3

Our state has a love-hate relationship with public-private partnerships (P3). P3s are where public (government) interests and funds partner with private companies to cooperate and share risks and benefits.