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Saturday, January 20, 2024
Hold on to your wallets! The Legislature is back in session
By Grassroot Institute @ 2:56 AM :: 1354 Views :: Development, Land Use, Taxes

Hold on to your wallets! The Legislature is back in session

from Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, January 18, 2024

After a challenging year, the stakes are high for the 2024 legislative session.

Joining host Rick Hamada on KHVH News Radio 830’s “Community Matters” program on Sunday, Ted Kefalas, director of strategic campaigns for the Grassroot Institute, outlined the key issues the Institute will be advocating this legislative session.

Regarding housing, Kefalas highlighted the “artificial limiters” imposed on the housing stock via the state’s 5% cap on land zoned for residential, reserving the majority for conservation and agricultural use.

“I’m not saying to pave over paradise,” said Kefalas. “Our proposal is actually to increase housing density on land that’s already residential.”

Kefalas said “diversifying the economy” away from tourism also will be an issue. Rather than favor or hinder certain industries, he said, said the state could diversify its economy by removing regulatory obstacles or easing occupational licensing requirements.

“We’ve had consistent population decline year after year,” he said. “We have to make it more friendly to do business here and more friendly to live here and raise your kids here.”

The discussion also covered what Kefalas described as the “roller coaster” that has been the state budget, which has fluctuated from a surplus to a deficit and back to a slight surplus.

Kefalas urged legislators to “be smart” about spending, especially during an election year where many of them might be tempted to win votes through funding their pet projects.

To hear the entire 25-minute conversation, click on the image above.

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