Hawaiian Family Struggling With the High Cost of LivingHigh Cost of Living

Hawaii is the most expensive state in the nation and our families have the lowest amount of disposable income.  Though some of these costs, like the effects of the Jones Act, are outside the control of local government we can take steps to bring costs down.

The single biggest cost for most families is housing.  Nearly half of Hawaii families are considered "cost burdened" meaning that they pay more than 30% of their monthly income for housing.

More than half of those housing costs are due to failures in planning and permitting.

Hawaii County also suffers from high food prices, high fuel prices, high water prices and high electricity prices.  Basically, nearly every good or service we consume is priced higher than any other place in the United States.  This is causing our community to leave the state by the tens of thousands.

How Core '24 Addresses the Cost of Living

Fixing the planning and permitting process will cut new housing prices by half.  This one change will drastically lower the cost of living as new housing comes on to the market and housing prices stabilize.

For kupuna who are on a fixed income we plan to freeze property taxes.  The taxes kupuna homeowners pay on their primary residence at 65 will remain the same for life.  This will not affect the county's budget, but will help stabilize costs for kupuna who live on a fixed income.

Insurance costs are driven by replacement costs.  58% of those replacement costs are regulatory.  That means more than 1/2 of insurance premiums are being driven by planning and permitting regulations.  By streamlining the permitting process, our team will bring down insurance costs island wide.  This includes homeowners in Lava 1 and 2 zones who are paying extreme insurance rates.

Hawaii County will also fund and publish a highly detailed official map that accurately reflects lava risks.  Existing maps were developed more than 30 years ago and were never intended to communicate risk.  The 1992 map communicates past hazards, but since it is the only official map available it has driven up insurance costs for tens of thousands of homeowners.  The new map will be developed to communicate future risk and will use modern digital tools and survey methods to increase both fidelity and accuracy.

Hawaii County will bring down water prices by expanding the water department's customer base and improving delivery infrastructure.  These grant funded improvements will cut long term maintenance and treatment costs and bring down water rates for everyone island wide.

The cost of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat products will be lowered by creating food hubs that provide processing, markets and distribution for local farmers.  These hubs will make it easier and less expensive for local farmers to deliver sustainable foods to local buyers.