WARD INTRODUCES BILLS TO FORBID MORE TAX DOLLARS FOR RAIL COMPLETION AND CORPORATE STIPENDS FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS
News Release from Office of Rep Gene Ward September 24, 2017
Honolulu - Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai) introduced two bills today that make the sale of "development rights" along the rail corridor the sole means of any increased funding to build out the rail.
The Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) has already cut Hawaii off from any additional funding. The City must find a sustainable way to complete the rail project without turning to its already overburdened taxpayers. WalletHub’s analysts compared the tax burdens of the 50 states by measuring property taxes, which Hawaii was ranked number two.
"The State of Hawaii owns about 50% of the land along the rail corridor between Kapolei and downtown Honolulu and can raise millions of dollars through the sale of development rights for condos, shopping areas, and work force housing," Ward said.
He cites the examples of Japan and Hong Kong that have been doing this for years saving taxpayers millions of dollars of government funding.
Ward also introduced a bill today that would not disallow but would limit the amount of money an elected official could receive while serving on the board of a private company. "This bill forbids honorariums or monthly stipends from corporations to elected officials not to exceed 20% of their government salary," Ward explained, “The citizens of Hawaii deserve to have full confidence that their public servants will keep their public interest first and foremost throughout their decision-making processes.”
For example, if someone earned $150,000 as a high-ranking elected city official, the most that person could receive for serving on a board is $30,000.
Ward introduced both bills for purposes of fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers of Hawaii.
Ward said he is also writing a letter to the Trump Administration's new Director of Transportation, Elaine Chao regarding a pre-condition of securing a level of private sector funding in exchange for development rights before more federal funding could be released or considered.