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Wednesday, July 5, 2023
July 5, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:11 PM :: 1316 Views

Green hopes housing will alleviate teacher shortage

Hawaii losing economic strength, economist says

SA: … Inflation has stabilized in Hawaii, but what is of concern to one of Hawaii’s leading economists is the state’s gross domestic product, which over the past five years has fallen way behind the national economy….

He said his concern is that Hawaii’s economy has been shrinking 1% per annum, after inflation, for five years, since 2017, before the pandemic as well as after.

Brewbaker said while Hawaii and the nation are both growing real GDP at about 1.8% per annum, the earlier shrinkage in Hawaii’s real GDP has contributed to a 15-percentage-point gap between the nation’s current real GDP and Hawaii’s real GDP….

He said in round numbers Hawaii’s economy is $100 billion, so the loss is about $15 billion, though it’s not quite that bad relative to where it would have been if Hawaii’s economy had kept growing to $110 billion.

“It’s a big chunk of economic activity. What’s missing is something that is almost as big as tourism,” Brewbaker said. “Personally, I don’t think we are going to get it back.”

He said Hawaii’s economy has been weaker than the national economy for “reasons that are idiosyncratically Hawaii — it’s on us.”

“Our policies in Hawaii have slowly compressed our economic potential,” Brewbaker said. “We don’t invest in the future in Hawaii. We don’t build highways. We build about one-third as many homes as we need in any given year — that’s housing; that’s, like, the basic thing. Dude, we build speed bumps. Are you serious? Enjoy it, that’s Hawaii.”

He also pointed to a myriad of decisions, some of them controversial, as cause for concern, such as shutting down a refinery, deciding not to build telescopes, and using tourism destination management as an excuse to reduce tourism rather than mitigate the impacts.

He said higher volumes of people are leaving the state, and opined that the current focus by some to reduce visitor arrivals rather than to manage them could contribute to the situation….  

SA: WATCH LIVE: Economist Paul Brewbaker joins ‘Spotlight Hawaii’

read … Hawaii losing economic strength, economist says

City Officials’ Pay Raises Weren’t Included In The Budget. Now What?

CB: … The city charter mandates that these raises be delivered, meaning officials have to scrape together the money from other sources….

Waters did not return calls requesting comment.

“I haven’t talked to him about it per se,” said council member Matt Weyer, vice chair of the budget committee. “So I don’t know where he would anticipate taking the money from.”…

Raises will cost an extra $398,800 per year in the legislative budget and about $1 million per year extra in the executive operating budget. Respectively, these two budgets total about $26 million and about $3.4 billion.

While money can’t jump between separate budgets, it can be shifted around within the budget that it’s already in.

A version of this played out in May when the city’s electricity costs turned out to be higher than expected, an oddity attributed to the closure of Oahu’s last coal plant….

CB: John Pritchett: Animal Kingdom

read … City Officials’ Pay Raises Weren’t Included In The Budget. Now What?

Hawaii’s Chamber of Commerce Seeks To Rein In Red Tape To Help Businesses

CB: … Hawaii businesses are ready to cut through the red tape they say has been stymying growth.

In an effort to buoy business in the islands, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii has launched a new web portal where local businesses can submit regulatory issues they have been having. 

“We hear that regulatory barriers are a challenge, but what does that really mean,” said Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President Sherry Menor-McNamara.  

The portal is part of a larger organizational shift to move from a “Band-Aid approach” to long-term solutions to “make it less challenging to do business in Hawaii,” said Menor-McNamara. …

read … Hawaii’s Chamber of Commerce Seeks To Rein In Red Tape To Help Businesses

Ex-Gangsters, Grandmas And The Good Word Take On West Oahu’s Game Rooms

CB: … In early June, about 50 residents gathered at a community center in Maili to talk about getting tough on crime. Their concerns included illegal gambling rooms, drugs and gun violence.

In the room with them were Honolulu’s Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm, City Council member Andria Tupola and Maj. Mike Lambert, the HPD officer overseeing narcotics and vice.

Citizens stood and asked questions, lobbed accusations and voiced concerns. A man with a small teardrop tattooed below his right eye looked around and saw a few faces he knew patronized the game rooms under discussion.

Kincaid Olayan, better known as Mana, said, “I’m the founder of God Forgives Bad Boys and Bad Girls, a ministry made up of ex-gang members, ex-shot-callers, ex-drug addicts and ex-homeless.” 

His group is among those trying to make his Ewa Beach neighborhood safer, he said…..

read … Ex-Gangsters, Grandmas And The Good Word Take On West Oahu’s Game Rooms

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