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Thursday, February 15, 2018
Hawaii Legislators Grasping at Straws
By Grassroot Institute @ 7:36 PM :: 3538 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Small Business, Taxes

It's raining regulations at the Capitol 

from Grassroot Institute, February 15, 2018

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Now more than ever it’s important for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii to educate the state's lawmakers on the effects their policies have on individual liberties. We made waves in our watchdog role this week as we worked together for better policy in the state and across the nation.

This week, Grassroot Institute policy director Malia Blom Hill, who's based in Washington, D.C., exposed a growing trend in which legislatures across the country — including in Hawaii — seek to ban plastic straws, in a commentary for InsideSources. But the issue runs deeper than just banning straws: Regulations often are put into place simply because of political trends, often while ignoring facts and research to the contrary.

Grassroot Institute President Keli‘i Akina took a look at another bad policy proposition that's intended to do good but is sure to hurt Hawaii's economy: He addressed the most recent calls to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour. He called on Hawaii's lawmakers to think outside the box and find solutions.

In a commentary for MAUIWatch, Grassroot Institute writer Aaron Lief analyzed why Maui County continues to try to enact failed affordable housing policies. Meanwhile, Joe Kent, our vice president of research, made the case for why Hawaii lawmakers should not waste time trying to salvage net neutrality regulations in our state. And finally, when it comes to criminal justice in Hawaii, I wrote about how a recent study found the state's bail system to be inefficient and costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year (see below).

Also, our February events are quickly approaching, so sign up today! We have events on Maui and Oahu, featuring Mexican economist José Torra, who will speak on, “Why economic freedom matters.” See the details below. Please join us!

E hana kākou! (Let’s work together!)

Derek Draplin

Director of communications

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

News You Can Use

From The Wall Street Journal:

Could privatization be a solution to Hawaii's crappy cesspool conundrum? "Cesspools—holes in the ground where untreated human waste is deposited—have become a crisis in Hawaii, threatening the state’s drinking water, its coral reefs and the famous beaches that are the lifeblood of its tourist economy." 

READ MORE.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Hawaii’s Employees’ Retirement System gambled on risky investments — now what? "Harvard, Hawaii and others, pressed to improve returns, made risky bets that depended on low stock-market volatility." 

READ MORE.

From Reason Foundation:

Hawaii ranks almost last when it comes to highway performance and cost-effectiveness, a new transportation study says. (If you drive in the islands, you’re probably not surprised.) 

READ MORE.

State Legislatures, including Hawaii, grasp at plastic straws

A bill proposed in the Hawaii Legislature would ban the use of plastic straws. But the problem runs much deeper than the straw bill, writes Malia Hill, Grassroot Institute policy director, in a commentary for InsideSources, a Washington, D.C.-based media organization. “Every year, the Hawaii Legislature has at least one proposal that is driven more by emotion and political trends than hard facts and research. … Rushing to legislation before an issue has been debated fully in the public square shows a distressing lack of judgment. There has been no real effort to fact-check the impetus for the law, nor any thought given to the consequences of the legislation.”

READ MORE.

Maui tries to revive failed affordable housing policy

Grassroot Institute writer Aaron Lief has a piece on MAUIWatch about Maui's affordable housing policies, which have been a flop. So why does the county keep trying to create policies that require affordable housing to remain so in perpetuity? “With a broader policy that encourages housing development generally, developers would be able to build houses at so-called affordable rates — providing options that go beyond government-mandated minimums — as well as more market-rate housing that would reduce or at least stabilize housing prices overall,” he writes.

READ MORE.

President's Column: Good intentions don’t always equal good policy

Hawaii’s Legislature hopes to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. “If Hawaii legislators are serious about helping low-wage workers, they need to think differently. Raising the state’s minimum wage would only create more barriers to business and enterprise in the islands, thus harming the very folks these well-intended policies are meant to help,” writes Keli‘i Akina, president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

READ MORE.

Inefficient Hawaii bail system costing taxpayers millions 

Bail practices in the state ensnare Hawaii’s lower-income residents with high bail amounts difficult for the accused to pay, leading to overcrowding in our state’s jail system — which, in turn, is burdening Hawaii taxpayers to the tune of about $60 million a year.

READ MORE.

‘Net neutrality’ executive order could keep Hawaii in slow lane

If Hawaii lawmakers want better and faster internet service in the islands, they should get out of the way of the entrepreneurs who want to offer creative models of connecting Hawaii to the global economy. That would be good for Hawaii consumers, businesses and even the state government, which certainly could use some technological upgrades.

READ MORE.

CARTOON OF THE WEEK BY DAVID SWANN

GRASSROOT EVENTS

We're counting down the days to our February events — both are approaching quickly! If you haven't sign up yet, please do. Economist José Torra, one of the three authors of the 2017 Economic Freedom of North America index, will talk about why economic freedom matters. Torra will talk at our Feb. 26 on Oahu and Feb. 27 on Maui. To learn more or buy tickets to the Oahu event, click here. For the Maui event, click here. Join us!

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