Permitting: Insights from across the island chain

For those of you who aren’t aware, permitting for construction of new developments or renovation of existing structures is a huge problem on Hawaii Island. It has been recognized by the business community as a major barrier to economic development and working toward improvement of the permitting process is one of the three top priority areas for the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce. For those of you who are aware and have been following this issue, you’ve now got something new to think about.

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Project Vision Hawaii announces new
executive director

In brief

Chang named DBEDT deputy director

The ConAm returns

Two years ago, we as voters were inundated with impassioned arguments on both sides of a proposed constitutional amendment (“ConAm” for short). The amendment would have given the State the power to impose a surcharge on real property tax, ostensibly to fund teacher pay raises.

House panel asks whether legislation can keep cash as king

WASHINGTON — At some uncertain point in the future, printing cash may be a waste of money. As Americans increasingly rely on credit cards, online transfers, mobile apps and cryptocurrencies to complete transactions, a House panel debated Thursday the promise and potential pitfalls of a cashless society.

More special funds?

After going through the hundreds of bills introduced in the 2020 Legislature, a few themes appear to be emerging.

Commerce secretary: China virus could bring jobs back to US

WASHINGTON — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested Thursday that the viral outbreak in China might offer an unexpected benefit for the U.S. economy: It could encourage American manufacturers in China to return to the United States.

Don’t let them double up!

On Jan. 8, Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Trustee Brandon Kaleiana Lee wrote an op-ed in the Star-Advertiser titled, “OHA has right to attorney-client privilege.” In that article, Lee was reacting to State Auditor Les Kondo’s insistence that the OHA trustees turn over unredacted executive session minutes that apparently contain legal advice given by their hired counsel. He contended that “it is clear that such communications are clearly protected as part of the OHA board’s attorney-client privilege as a matter of longstanding U.S. Supreme Court constitutional law,” and turned the matter into an indigenous peoples issue: “Why is it when Native Hawaiians seek the same rights and protections to which everyone else is entitled, they are called protesters, are deemed uncooperative, or are accused of hiding something?”

In brief

Hawaii’s tourism industry came together earlier this monthto honor the best and brightest employees in a variety of categories. Nearly 1,000 hotel employees, their family members, and other industry stakeholders gathered for The Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association’s 30th annual Na Poe Paahana Awards. The annual awards ceremony, which name translates literally as “the hard-working people” was held in the Coral Ballroom at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Oahu.

Hawaiian Electric grant to help ohia

The nonprofit Ka Ahahui o Ka Nahelelehe, which works to protect Hawaii’s dryland forests, has received a $27,500 grant from Hawaiian Electric for its Rapid Ohia Death Seed Banking Initiative, an effort to preserve seeds from the native

Tax Foundation of Hawaii: Don’t let them double up

Following a major U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2018 (South Dakota v. Wayfair), many states, including ours, enacted “economic nexus” legislation, which means that we consider any business that transacts $100,000 or more in Hawaii sales or 200 or more Hawaii transactions to be subject to Hawaii tax laws, and we require such a business to comply with the law by registering and paying tax. That legislation went into effect July 1, 2018.

Tax Foundation of Hawaii: What really is a minimum wage?

Happy New Year! It’s now 2020 and talk already has begun about raising our minimum wage. $10.10 an hour is not a living wage, some say, so we should be hoisting our minimum wage to say $15 or $17, which some say is the minimum required to make ends meet here in Hawaii assuming you are working 40 hours a week.

Tax Foundation of Hawaii: Cooling the schools: the reality

It wasn’t long ago that, in response to numerous complaints of students sweltering in their classrooms, Gov. David Ige proclaimed that he would commit $100 million to cool 1,000 classrooms. At the end of the 2016 legislative session, he signed Act 47 of 2016 appropriating the funds to the Department of Education (DOE), and in 2018 he trumpeted this accomplishment during his re-election campaign.