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Monday, June 6, 2022
June 6, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:58 PM :: 1514 Views

Where it Pays to be a Nurse? -- not Hawaii

Hawaii Cost of Living Matched by Cost of Dying

Hawaii Most Dangerous State for COVID-19 Right Now

Hawaii 3rd Highest Closing Costs in USA

Friends and Family Plan: CNHA Snags $105M Tourism Contract  via Secret Process

SA Editorial: … One source of concern is the process leading up to this contract’s award. The Star-Advertiser’s Allison Schaefers has reported that the Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau won a contract for U.S. services in 2021. After a formal complaint from a group including CNHA, however, the contract was rescinded and a new request for proposals issued.

HTA has refused to provide details on this contract rescission, denying a public information request from the Star-Advertiser. As a public agency that has doled out hundred of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to promote tourism — much of it to the Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau — that is unacceptable….

Background: CNHA Swipes Juicy Mainland Tourism Marketing Contract from HVCB

HNN: Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s Kuleana Campaign to Educate Visitors

BH: Hawaii Visitor Fees: Perception, Value And An Egregious Example

Big Q: Do you like that a lucrative tourism marketing contract is going to a Hawaiian nonprofit, instead of the Hawaii visitors/ convention bureau?

read … Close scrutiny on tourism contract

CNHA Grabs for $600M Hawaiian Homelands Funding

SA: … There is a guideline for spending the $600 million, a tentative project list outlined in an earlier version of HB 2511. But the purpose of a large taxpayer commitment to the project is to meet the broad public interest of reducing the affordable housing deficit. Helping these people, including many who have waited for decades for a lease, is essential to success, and will require new thinking.

Beneficiary advocacy groups — principally the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations and the Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands — are stepping up to provide their input. More specifically, their leaders told the Star-Advertiser they don’t trust DHHL to do the right thing and so are developing their own spending plan….

read …. Don’t drag feet on funds for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands

Federal tax break for the poor helps luxury developers on Kaua‘i

TGI: … Wealthy investors in the Koloa and Hanalei real estate could be in line for millions of dollars in federal tax breaks.

These areas are considered Opportunity Zones — a Trump-era program intended to pump investment cash into low-income areas….

Why Koloa and Hanalei?

The Opportunity Zone program was slipped into the Federal 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a move that surprised Hawai‘i officials, who then had to quickly choose which 25 of the 351 eligible zones would qualify in the state.

Gov. David Ige had only about two months to pick the zones, not enough time to get public input on the process.

Based on 2010 census data, only two eligible zones were located on Kaua‘i — a South Shore zone that includes parts of Koloa, Lawa‘i and Kuku‘iula, and a North Shore zone that includes Hanalei and Ha‘ena, two areas not thought of as particularly economically disadvantaged….

The income of non-resident investors is not included in the census calculation, and the two chosen zones are hotbeds of these sorts of properties, evidenced by median 2010 home values of $1 million and $668,000, respectively.

This, coupled with the relatively small population of the zones — 3,500 people live in the Koloa zone and only 770 live in the Hanalei zone — and a high number of retirees, is enough to skew the data to make them appear economically disadvantaged….

Big tax benefits in Kuku‘iula

Investment in Kuku‘iula seems to have taken off following the implementation of the program.

“Our community has been flourishing from the recent Opportunity Zone investments at Kuku‘iula,” wrote Hawai‘i Life Real Estate Agent Lori Decker in a 2020 blog post. “Investors are purchasing ready-to-build homesites with the plan to improve the sites with vacation-rental homes in order to produce the business income required in the legislation rules.”

The previous year, Decker reported eight homesites had sold to Opportunity Zone Fund investors, at prices ranging from $585,000 to $1,750,000.

One potential Kaua‘i Opportunity Zone project is the Ohia, a $227-million luxury hotel proposed by Kupono Capital LLC, which declined to comment for this article.

First reported by Pacific Business News in 2021, the project was described as a “luxury resort and wellness center,” with 85 hotel rooms and 65 residences planned for its initial stage, with an additional 150 residences planned for a future phase.

Located behind the Shops at Kuku‘iula, it will be less than a five-minute drive from three other hotels, in an area not starved for development.

Investors in this project will be eligible for three tax incentives under the Opportunity Zone program.

The first allows them to defer paying taxes on capital gains from other ventures.

Rather than paying taxes now, investors can put that money in an Opportunity Zone Fund to be used for OZ projects, and defer payment until 2026 — saving money because, due to inflation, their taxes will be comparatively less valuable at that time.

The IRS also gives a discount on capital gains invested in an opportunity fund — 10% if the investment is held for seven years and 5% if it is held for five years.

Most significantly, if investors hold an OZ-funded property for 10 years then sell it, they owe no taxes on the profits.

So, if the Ohia were to double in value over the next 10 years, and it was sold, the investors would pay no taxes on the multi-million-dollar windfall.

Kaua‘i investors are likely to see some of the biggest gains, with Decker writing in another blog post that the island may have the “best potential for tax-free appreciation over the next ten years, in the entire State of Hawai‘i.”

read … Federal tax break for the poor helps luxury developers on Kaua‘i

Bums Migrate to Waikiki

SA: … A shift in homeless people from downtown to East Honolulu has contributed to a 71% increase in the district’s share of Oahu’s unsheltered population since 2019….

ILind: Worries about crime in Waikiki are nothing new

read … Solutions sought for rise in homeless in East Honolulu

Blangiardi, Ward: Bail reform bill ignores public safety, emboldens criminals

SA: … our state Legislature fumbled at the goal line with the passing of House Bill 1597, the “no cash bail” bill, a piece of legislation that is clearly not in the best interest of the public.

The version of the bill that was approved by the Legislature and sent to the desk of Gov. David Ige on May 4 is so bad that its author, state Rep. Scot Matayoshi, has since asked the governor to veto it.

That alone should be enough for our commentary, but in the event that it isn’t: Both of us have a passionate interest in protecting the less fortunate, and we both despise the unjust treatment of all individuals — but this bill, which claims to fix inequities for those who have been accused of crimes, is based on myths which sound well-intended until you take a closer look.

The bill, if signed into law by the governor, will require judges to release people accused of certain crimes on their own recognizance, without any guarantee that they will return to court.

The legislative branch is crossing a dangerous line by telling the judicial branch (judges) how to rule on a specific list of charges….

What is even more puzzling is that legislators decided that the set of crimes worthy of qualifying for mandatory release are mostly property crimes, which are our state’s top law enforcement problem. If you have ever had anything stolen, or are trying to run a business in an area swarming with thieves, these crimes can be devastating. So-called “petty” crimes, such as theft and harassment, are not “petty” for victims of theft and harassment.

Hawaii is already blessed with an extremely compassionate judiciary system. The only people who are held on bail as it is are those who our judges believe present serious issues.

Everyone else is released and expected to appear on their own. Many criminals do not show up for their next court appearance. That starts a vicious and costly cycle of police rearresting people who are in contempt of court, only to have them then rereleased on that contempt of court charge.

It takes a lot to get arrested, more to wind up in jail, and then even more to be held on bail. Not only does this bill ignore public safety, it emboldens the criminal community to continue the unfettered rampage of crime that we’ve seen bombarding our neighborhoods in recent months.

read … Bail reform bill ignores public safety, emboldens criminals

Bill to reduce costs of public information requests on Ige’s desk

HTH: … Senate Bill 3252, introduced by Sen. Karl Rhoads, an Oahu Democrat, was forwarded to Ige on May 6. The measure also specifies that there will be no reproduction costs for producing documents provided to requesters in an electronic format if the agency maintains those documents electronically….

read … Bill to reduce costs of public information requests on Ige’s desk

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