Taxes and Grants

Hawaii residents already pay the highest tax rate in the nation and despite this our community fails to deliver basic government services like clean water to much of the population.

Improvements to infrastructure, programs and conservancy are all going to cost money.  How do we pay for it?

How can we reduce costs while improving services?

It's simple really.  Funding for the Core '24 platform will come from three initiatives:

1. An early focus on grant writing.  The Federal Government currently has an unprecedented amount of grant money available to local governments, but Hawaii County hasn't been aggressively pursuing it.  Our grant writing capacity is limited and the current County Council has a strong bias toward collecting taxes rather than obtaining grants.

We plan to set up a "war room" and use our best asset - the desire to be in Hawaii - to recruit the best grant writers in the United States.  These grant writers will be engaged on a contract basis and Hawaii County will pay to house them.  This effort will be a key area of focus for the first 6 months after the election.

2. Increasing taxable square footage.  There are millions of square feet of unpermitted improvements on the Big Island of Hawaii.  As part of Core '24's Planning and Permitting reform we will be implementing a permit amnesty and providing property owners with an easy on-ramp to becoming legally permitted.

A side effect of this process will be a significant increase in property tax revenue as previously undisclosed improvements, additions and even entire buildings are brought onto the tax rolls.

3. Aggressive cost cutting in non-core areas.  Hawaii County's leadership is investing millions of dollars each year in non-core projects and initiatives.  For example, Hawaii County is investing in the Hindenburg of energy storage - hydrogen fuel - rather than investing in the technology that is the obvious winner - lithium batteries.

This is just one of many examples of pet projects that have received significant public subsidies.  As side effect of our focus on delivering core services is a strong incentive to cut non-core projects and services.

At some future point in time Hawaii County can re-visit these efforts, but until we can provide clean drinking water, universal waste disposal, clean public parks and the other core components of our platform, distractions like hydrogen fuel cells will have to wait.

Freezing Taxes for Kupuna

One place the Core '24 platform won't be taking money from is kupuna.  Tax assessments for kupuna will be frozen when they reach 65.  Kupuna have contributed enough to our economy.  This tax freeze will help kupuna on a fixed income to live out their lives without fear that their taxes will destroy their retirement.