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Sunday, April 9, 2023
April 9, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:33 PM :: 1640 Views

Hope for Tax Relief Still Alive

Hawaii Average Monthly Utility Cost $611.87

This Week’s Testimony from Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted April 8, 2023

UHERO: Hawaii needs a Super-HTA with 'Authority and Force to Require Others to help Carry out the Plan'

Brewbaker: Hawaii’s economy is in recession--a self-made one

HTH: … “Hawaii is in a recession.”

That pronouncement was made in a livestreamed interview Friday by Paul Brewbaker of TZ Economics, a private consultant and one of the state’s top economists.

“Are you kidding? GDP has been falling for five years. GDP was falling before the pandemic,” he said, referring to the state’s gross domestic product, which is the monetary measure of the market value of all goods and services produced and sold.

“And after the pandemic, it’s still falling.”

Brewbaker, who formerly was the chief economist for Bank of Hawaii, said the state’s bureaucratic red tape, including the cost and length of permitting processes and environmental reviews, is at least partially to blame.

As examples of “all this crazy stuff that’s going on,” he used the completely built but idle Honua Ola Bioenergy power plant in Pepeekeo, and the decommissioning of functioning telescopes atop Maunakea in the hopes of getting the Thirty Meter Telescope built.

“You can build a renewable energy plant. You just can’t operate it,” Brewbaker said. ” You cannot build a telescope next to a telescope. What? That’s how Hawaii rolls now.”

“Hawaii has some really, really deep issues that are completely independent of the U.S. business cycle,” he continued. “Hawaii and the U.S. marched hand-in-hand through the longest expansion in history during the 20-teens, 10 or 11 years of steady economic growth, until the east rift eruption of Kilauea in 2018. And then Hawaii just took a right turn, got off the freeway.

“The U.S. went through the pandemic, got knocked down, came right back, and is now on the same track that it was prepandemic. Not Hawaii. Hawaii was going down before the pandemic, took the hit, came back at a lower level GDP, and is still kind of twisting in the wind, drifting downward. That’s on us. That’s Hawaii.”…

Related: UHERO: Hawaii needs a Super-HTA with 'Authority and Force to Require Others to help Carry out the Plan'

read … Brewbaker: Hawaii’s economy is in recession

OHA too quick to reject latest ceded-lands proposal?

Shapiro: …The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has made many costly misjudgments in decades of attempts to settle its ceded-lands dispute with the state, and trustees may have made another by too hastily rejecting a new proposal from House Speaker Scott Saiki.

(CLUE: OHA doesn’t want a ‘settlement’ they just want more chaos because chaos causes litigation and the lawyers are running the show.)

After this year’s fourth failed attempt to get the Legislature to lift a 2006 ban on the dense development OHA plans in Kakaako Makai — a nod to citizens groups wanting to keep the area in open space — it’s time for the agency to recognize this path is a dead horse…

A judge ruled in 1996 that the state owed OHA $1.2 billion, and then-Gov. Ben Cayetano offered a compromise of lands around the state worth hundreds of millions while the case was on appeal before the state Supreme Court….

But OHA rejected Cayetano despite clear signals from former Chief Justice Ronald Moon it should settle. When the Supreme Court overturned the $1.2 billion award, OHA was left to accept a $187 million settlement from the Lingle administration involving lands in Hilo, Kewalo and Kalaeloa, later rejected by the Legislature in a political dispute….

REALITY: Abercrombie: OHA Should Stop Lying About Kakaako Makai Deal

REALITY: OHA Rejects $100M Offer--Sees More Profit in Lying About Kakaako Makai

Borreca: Positions quickly hardened and now it seems like this has become a time for drama, not a deal.

SA Editorial: Since taking over the makai lands in 2012, OHA could have made more of a good-faith effort to monetize the property. The lack of a real-estate strategy or land-development policies drew criticism in a state auditor’s report last month. The fact that the acreage remains unimproved from its current deteriorated state is partly the result of the board’s lack of action.

read … OHA too quick to reject latest ceded-lands proposal

Drunken driving bill fails to advance

HTH: … A state Senate bill that would have lowered the drunken driving blood alcohol content threshold from 0.08% to 0.05% failed to clear the House Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee and is dead for the year….

Big Island Rep. David Tarnas, chair of the House Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, opted not to hear SB 160 this session due to concerns there wasn’t enough information to answer some key questions posed by members of the House….

Those questions centered around whether there was definitive evidence that a reduction from 0.08% to 0.05% would make roads significantly safer….

“The data for Hawaii shows that around 2% of fatal accidents involve people that have a blood alcohol content level between 0.05% and 0.08%,” Tarnas said. “But 65% of fatal accidents have people with no alcohol in their system at all, and 30% of fatal accidents have drivers with blood alcohol content levels at 0.08% or above.”…

read … Drunken driving bill fails to advance

UH Hilo study finds military, civilian suicide rates similar

SA: … A new study by researchers at the University of Hawaii at Hilo indicates combat duty had little effect on military suicide rates, and in some cases even correlated with a slight decrease in soldiers taking their own life.

The new paper, published in March in the academic journal Psychiatry Research, examined military and civilian suicide rates over the last 120 years. It followed up on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December 2019 that challenged the popular perception that the stress and trauma of war prompted military suicides.

“A lot of times, after that JAMA study came out, my colleagues and I were asked how this stacks up against the civilian population,” said UH Hilo History Department Chair Jeffrey Allen Smith, one of the study’s co-authors. “And so that’s what we did here was we started looking into the civilian population and comparing it to the military.”

The data showed that military and civilian suicides mostly paralleled each other, both in war and in peacetime….

During World War II and much of the Cold War, American service members had somewhat lower suicide rates than the civilian population. Those in the service generally felt at the time that what they were doing was important, though suicide increased in the later years of the Vietnam War as it dragged on and became increasingly unpopular…. 

KHON: UH study finds social pressures increasing suicide rates not military-related trauma in soldiers, veterans, civilians

read … UH Hilo study finds military, civilian suicide rates similar

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