Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, December 1, 2016
Harbors Division Fee Hike designed to boost $77M OHA Slush Fund?
By Andrew Walden @ 11:48 PM :: 7754 Views :: Economy, OHA, Taxes, Cost of Living

by Andrew Walden

The State Department of Transportation Harbors Division is asking Governor Ige to approve a 55% hike in wharfage fees in three steps between January, 2017 and July, 2018.  This comes on top of 70% fee hikes between 2010 and 2014.  If approved by Ige, the fee hikes are projected to jack up shippers expenses from the current $93.6 million per year to $137.3 million. 

Because almost everything sold in Hawaii is imported, higher wharfage rates mean higher consumer costs and a more difficult business environment.  Michael Hansen, President of the Hawaii Shippers Council, asks: “Is there some structural problem here that people are not sharing with us?” 


The ‘structural problem’ in the State Harbors Division consists of payments to the State Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) under terms of Act  178 of 2006.

According to the most recent State Auditor’s report, $12,684,000 went to OHA in FY2015—13.6% of total Harbors Division revenue.  This is up 110% from the $6,037,000 paid out to OHA in 2010.  According to the totals provided in the 2015 Auditor’s report (p56) plus earlier figures from a 2014 Auditor’s report on HIDOT Special Funds (pg 23), and a FY 2009 State Auditor’s report (p44), we can learn that Harbors has given OHA a total of $77,389,000 from FY2007 through FY2015.

Harbors Div Ceded Lands Payments

FY – Amount

  • 2007—$7,112,000
  • 2008—$7,112,000
  • 2009—$6,316,000
  • 2010—$6,037,000
  • 2011—$7,614,000
  • 2012—$9,029,000
  • 2013—$10,559,000
  • 2014—$10,926,000
  • 2015—$12,684,000
  • TOTAL--$77,389,000

OHA is not mentioned anywhere in the Harbors Division sales pitch for wharfage fee hikes. 

The formula mandated by Act 178 of 2006 (implemented by Executive Order 06-06) directs $15,100,000 be transferred to OHA annually.  State agencies that collect receipts from the Ceded Lands to annually transfer 20% to OHA.  Until recently, their totals were less than $15,100,000 and the difference was made up from the General Fund.  Now the totals are in excess of $15,100,000 and OHA complains it has been obligated to return $8M that it could have used to lobby for the fake Indian Tribe.  That excess is held in a “Ceded Lands Trust Fund” managed by the Department of Budget and Finance.

According to DLNR, in 2015, departments transferred $18.8M—$15.1M to OHA and the rest to the B&F trust fund. The breakdown is:

  • $12.7M from Harbors – 68%
  • $4.4M from DLNR – 23%
  • The remaining 9% comes mostly from UH, DBEDT, Department of Agriculture, and the DOE. 
  • HHSC has been smart enough to avoid reporting any ceded lands revenues, lest OHA loot bankrupt public hospitals to pay for more OHA executive junkets to New Zealand or the Cook Islands. 
  • HIDOT Airports Division is shielded from OHA’s money grab by a federal law which prohibits the use of airport revenues purposes other than airport operations.

The 20% OHA transfer has been triple-transmogrified.

Firstly, the Harbors collections (and collections from DLNR DOBOR marina operations) are justified by the 1990 Hawaii Supreme Court decision in Napeahi vs Paty which holds that submerged lands are ceded lands.  Hawaii’s commercial and recreational harbors are all State-owned and most are built up on landfill above lands which were previously submerged.   OHA did not pay for any of the capital improvements to Hawaii’s harbors (OHA makes capital improvements more expensive for everybody) but is receiving far more than 20% of the revenues attributable to the value of the underlying submerged lands.  OHA also contributes nothing to Harbors Division operating expenses.

The 20% transfer is then twice-mutated from the five purposes for revenue from the Ceded Lands identified in the Hawaii Admission Act:

  1. for the support of the public schools and other public educational institutions,
  2. for the betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians, as defined in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended,
  3. for the development of farm and home ownership on as widespread a basis as possible
  4. for the making of public improvements, and
  5. for the provision of lands for public use.

The akamai reader will note that ‘five purposes’ does not equate to ‘20% each’ -- and “the betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians, as defined in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act” does not equate to “the worsement of the conditions of toenail Hawaiians as defined by OHA”. 

According to the text of Act 178 the Hawaii Supreme Court [OHA v Yamasaki (1987) and OHA v Hawaii (2001)] ruled:

“…the issue of what constitutes the Office of Hawaiian Affairs' pro rata portion of all the revenues derived from the public land trust … is a political question for the legislature to determine….” 

What was the political decision?  Act 178 orders DLNR to prepare an annual  “accounting of all receipts from (ceded) lands…” including “the total gross amount” and “the amount transferred to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.”

Pushing its 2016 Legislative Package, a statement posted on OHA’s website argues:

…While state law requires that OHA expend 20% of all funds derived from the trust, for decades OHA and the state disagreed on how to calculate OHA’s 20% share.

Most recently in 2006, OHA and the state agreed on Act 178 as an interim resolution and established OHA’s temporary annual share at $15.1 million “until the further action is taken by the legislature.” Importantly, the Legislature included a provision for reporting from state agencies on proceeds and revenues, and this data can now be used to compute OHA’s 20% share.

According to the state’s own reports, the state generated an average of $158,077,656 annually in Public Land Trust revenues in the last 3 fiscal years, 20% of which is $31,615,531, more than twice $15.1 million. Moreover, the state’s transfers to OHA, which are calculated using historically undisputed revenue streams, have exceeded the $15.1 million cap in each fiscal year since 2013.  As a result, OHA has returned approximately $8 million to the state….

The text of Act 178 states: “Nothing in this Act shall resolve or settle, or be deemed to acknowledge the existence of, the claims of native Hawaiians to the income and proceeds of a pro rata portion of the public land trust….”

HB1434, lifting OHA’s ceded lands cap, was ignored by the 2016 Legislature.  Is the Harbors Division Fee Hike secretly part of a deal to expand OHA funding in the 2017 Legislative session?


Jan 2016: Crabbe: Plan is to Take Control of Hawaii’s Entire Economy and Hide Behind Tribal Jurisdiction


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii


Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group


Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break


DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute


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 Advocates

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 March for Life

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

Heritage Foundation



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

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

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group


Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii



National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today


Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii



Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii


Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii