ECONOMY

RETHINK REVENUE!! Eliminate wasteful spending.

Make our international economy benefit our local one.

 

Hawai'i is rapidly becoming an international economy. Meanwhile, our local economy is getting left behind, locals can't afford to live here, and it's getting more and more expensive to visit. "Affordable Housing" is an illusion that puts equity into the pockets of international investors and property developers, who benefit disproportionately at the expense of our local economy and who support state officials who support their investments -making the Hawai'i Democratic Party not the party of the people, but the party of the international developer. It's time to stop wasteful spending and realize revenue where we can. I propose we:

  • End the mask mandate and no COVID-19 vaccination passports; both should be voluntary

  • Shift towards an economy that features job-diversification, vice solely military and tourism.

  • Increase tax credits for small businesses and homeowners.

  • Increase property rights for residential and short-term rentals.

  • Stop the brain drain; use innovation to create high paying jobs.

  • Incentivize local development and make international developers and tourists pay their share.

  • Impose a tourism tax on all visitors to our islands.

  • Legalize and tax marijuana with an exemption whereby employers may prohibit use of the drug.

  • Legalize and tax gambling. (Thanks to gambling revenue, Nevada has no state tax!)

  • Cut or abolish the General Excise Tax - especially on food items.

JONES ACT

GET WITH THE TIMES!! Modernize the 100-year-old Act.

Yield the unrealized tax revenue. Make shipping work for Hawaii!

 

Hawaii is the 50th state, but the 1920 Jones Act still considers it a territory, resulting in high costs for imports & exports that drive up local prices. It's time to resolve this issue. As governor, I will push for Hawaii Congressional leaders to:

  • Either secure a Jones Act exemption for Hawai'i or modernize the Act.

 

For background, the Act requires that all cargo transported between US ports be on a ship that are US flagged and built, owned, and 3/4 crewed by Americans. The Act is intended to ensure national security with a robust merchant fleet, but the fact is it eliminates market competition, which makes the U.S. more reliant on China and Russia for goods and fuel. It has increased prices while reducing maritime trade and hampered development of US shipbuilding industries, resulting in far fewer grossly aging ships compared to other countries.  It costs Hawai'i over $1B USD per year, over 9,000 jobs, $400M in lost wages, and $150M in lost taxes.  It costs the average consumer in Hawai'i over $600 per year.  Data shows the Act has resulted in an aging, dilapidated merchant fleet and unrealized tax revenue. (Grassroot Institute of Hawaii Policy Brief, "Quantifying the Cost of the Jones Act to Hawaii", Jul 2020)

EDUCATION

ELEVATE THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM!! Make it a priority.

Retain teachers and increase their salary and retirement.

 

Hawai'i is the only state in the Union that doesn't use its property tax to pay for education. Meanwhile, we rank towards the bottom in the nation for primary education. Money spent on college tuitions in other states is spent on private primary school in Hawai'i - 60,000 keiki are not taught by Hawaiian teachers each year. There isn't even a pay-scale for teachers with PhDs. Meanwhile, teachers can't afford to live here - since 2012, the number of teachers leaving Hawai'i has increased by 70%. So we recruit temporary teachers from the mainland who leave after earning practical skills. It's time to change the paradigm and ELEVATE EDUCATIONI propose we:

  • Stop treating property revenue as a petty cash jar and allocate it for public school education, 

  • Incentivize locals to join our teaching community.

  • Increase teacher salaries and retirements.

  • Add a pay-band for teachers with PhDs. (We don't even have one!)

  • Repair our crumbling schools!

  • Modernize our schools' aging IT infrastructure. 

HOMELESSNESS

HANDLE IT!! Reclaim public areas for tax payers!

Develop solutions for housing. Incentivize the homeless.

 

It's no surprise Hawai'i ranks towards the bottom of the States in number of homeless per capita. That's because we lack a cohesive, evidence-based, and cross-government program with authority to provide homeless-to-wellness options for our homeless population; and our focus on sweeping campaigns fails to resolve root issues. It's time to HANDLE the homeless problem. I propose we:

  • ENFORCE the law and RECLAIM public areas for taxpayers!

  • Reinvigorate Hawai'i's Interagency Council on Homelessness - transition it to a Task Force with authority to coordinate and execute cross government (municipal-county-state) and private & public housing solutions.

  • Incentivize homeless people through treatment, education, employment, and housing.

  • Decrease high-school drop-out rates and drug-use through incentives to stay-on-track.

 

ENERGY

ENERGIZE IT!! Address energy incentives within the unique confines of land scarcity.

Hawai'i is the most fossil fuel-dependent state in the Nation, (all of which has to be imported). We have the highest prices in the Nation for gasoline, electricity, and natural gas.  We use significantly more energy than we produce despite having one of the lowest energy consumption totals of any state.  We're making good progress on residential solar energy and renewable portfolio standard, but we can do better. It's time to ENERGIZE ENERGY! I propose we:

  • Develop a phased, comprehensive plan to bring the islands into the 21st century for energy incentives & storage, within the confines of land scarcity.

INFRASTRUCTURE

INVEST IN IT NOW!! Repair our roads, bridges, schools, and energy architecture.

Bring back the super-ferry! Review entire infrastructure system.

 

For anyone who lives here, it doesn't take a poll to tell you Hawaii's infrastructure ranks towards the bottom in the nation. Our roads, bridges, schools, medical care, and energy and communications infrastructures are simply lagging. We receive sufficient federal funding but cannot provide timely contracts and efficient use of funds for repair and maintenance statewide.  It's time to INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE EFFICIENCIES! I propose we:

  • Develop a phased, comprehensive plan to bring Hawaii into the 21st century.

  • Develop and enforce state standards for infrastructure.

  • Repair our roads, bridges, schools, and aquifers. 

  • Bring back super ferries to provide low cost interisland commute for kama'ina.

  • Raise the level of medical care on neighbor islands to reduce transportation costs for treatments.

  • Speed up our WiFi and make it free & accessible across the islands to all kama'ina. 

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