Thursday, February 2, 2023
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Do the right thing for Maui housing, not just ‘something’
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 7:29 PM :: 833 Views :: Maui County, Development, Land Use, Cost of Living

Do the right thing for Maui housing, not just ‘something’

by Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO, Grassroot Institute, October 15, 2022

“Do something,” goes the popular political call to action. But perhaps it would be better if politicians added a line from the medical field: “First, do no harm.”

In the case of housing, the urge to “do something” too often means expanding the role of government, which research shows is exactly the wrong medicine needed to remedy one of our most pressing issues.

According to a recent study by UHERO, the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, Hawaii already has the highest level of housing regulations in the country, which many other studies confirm is significant cause of our acute lack of housing and higher housing prices.

This isn’t a secret. Housing activists from all parts of the political spectrum have been telling Hawaii policymakers for years that the best way to increase homebuilding and bring down home prices is to reduce government barriers.

Nevertheless, calls to increase government involvement in housing persist. A perfect example of this flawed approach is Bill 107, approved Sept. 27 by the Maui County Council, which seeks to implement “affordable housing sales price guidelines.”

Bear in mind, of course, that in the context of housing regulations, “affordable housing” doesn’t refer to reasonable housing prices for everyone. It refers to a subset of homes that must be sold at below-market rates to residents who meet certain income requirements.

Under existing Maui law, a percentage of homes in any development over a certain size must be sold at these below-market rates. But by changing the “guidelines” of how those below-market prices are determined, Bill 107 would require homebuilders to lower the prices of their “affordable” units even further — by about 20%, or an average of about $120,000.

In testimony submitted to the Maui Council on Sept. 20, Joe Kent, executive vice president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, warned that such a reduced price would disincentivize the construction of new homes — exactly the opposite of what the Council would like to achieve.

This was backed up by testimony from a representative of the Waikapū Country Town project, who said the bill would negatively affect a building project that has been in the making for more than a decade.

Despite the many reasoned arguments opposing Bill 107, the Maui County Council passed the bill by a 5-4 vote. As if the proposed “sales price guidelines” weren’t problematic enough, the bill also includes a vague subsidy program for prospective buyers that has the potential to become a budgetary albatross for decades to come.

The measure now is before Maui Mayor Mike Victorino, who has until Monday to decide whether to veto it, sign it or let it become law without his signature.

He has plenty of reasons not to let the bill become law, including that it likely will discourage new homebuilding, be a drain on the county budget and contribute to higher average home prices on Maui.

There also is the likelihood that the Council membership might change after the upcoming election, and this bill may not represent the wishes of Maui voters.

Will the mayor listen to the warnings that Bill 107 could end up doing more harm than good? No doubt it is a well-intended effort to “do something” about housing in Hawaii, but this is not the “something” that needs to be done.
_____________

This commentary was Keli’i Akina’s weekly “President’s Corner” column for Oct. 15, 2022. If you would like to have his columns emailed to you on a regular basis, please call 808-864-1776 or email info@grassrootinstitute.org.

 

 

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT