The affordable housing trap - Mandates can't create more housing
Hawaii Together with Keli'i Akina, May 10, 2021
The defeat of Bill 10 on Maui and why housing is so expensive on Maui were among topics of discussion between Keli’i Akina and Jason Economou on Akina’s latest “Hawaii Together” program, which aired May 10, 2021, on the ThinkTech Hawaii network
Economou, an attorney, is government affairs director for the Realtors Association of Maui, which with the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii was among groups that successfully urged the Maui County Council and Maui Mayor Michael Victorino to reject the proposed affordable housing measure Bill 10.
The bill would have increased the county’s affordable housing requirement for 201H affordable housing projects from 50% to 75%, which would have been the second highest requirement level in the nation and almost certainly would have spiked future efforts to add to the county’s affordable housing stock.
“Bill 10 was a troubling bill because it largely ignored reality,” Economou told Akina. “It ignored the reality of the situation that we live in, as far as just having capitalism. It ignored the reality that the government cannot mandate private businesses to do things that are not economically beneficial to them. The government can’t mandate private businesses to build really anything, let alone affordable housing. … Maui is already not a very easy place to get anything built, and they decided to make it harder. I don’t know why. I think it was certainly well-intentioned, but it ignored some basic facts.”