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Lawmakers to decide on funding for housing, long-term care

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Hakim Ouansafi, left, executive director of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, talks to a panel of Hawaii lawmakers on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Honolulu. Hawaii officials are debating how to chip away at a 60,000-unit housing shortage over the next five years.

Facing down a projection that Hawaii will need an additional 60,000 housing units to meet long-term demand over the next five years, state lawmakers plan to chip away at deciding how much money they’re willing to spend to solve the problem.

The legislative committees that make decisions about money will take up a slew of bills related to housing development, public housing repairs, rental assistance and low-income tax credits on Monday, mostly in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Sen. Jill Tokuda, chairwoman of that committee, wants the state to set a goal of developing at least 22,500 affordable rental housing units over the next ten years. Her bill, SB2561, is up for a decision in the Ways and Means committee Monday.

Households with low incomes are especially in need of affordable housing, and nearly 95 percent of rental unit tenants have a household income of less than 140 percent of the median Hawaii income, or $80,948 for an individual, according to the bill. About 4,500 affordable rental units were delivered statewide with government assistance from 2004 to 2013, but it’s not enough, supporters say.

Another bill in the committee could potentially make low-income housing tax credits more attractive to investors.

Here are some additional bills lawmakers will consider in the upcoming week:

EQUAL PAY — A bill to bar employers from discriminating against employees by paying lower wages for the same work to members of the opposite sex will be heard in the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.

POLICE OVERSIGHT — A proposal to create an independent review board to investigate incidents of officer-involved death or serious injuries will be heard in the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Monday afternoon.

LONG-TERM CARE — A bill to create a state tax to fund long-term care is up for decision making in the same committee on Monday afternoon.

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  • No matter how much is appropriated, until communities stop with this constant NIMBY-ism we will never get anywhere near enough housing built. Which in turn will lead to continuing increases in real estate prices.

  • A noble proposal for 60,000 units for long-term care which for seniors. Whether it will have priority is questionable as commission in charge of developments have little regard for low cost housing of any kind. Their major concerns are to placate developers of high-end, high-priced condos for the rich and famous. Further, the low-cost units eligibilty requirement are ridiculous inasmuch as, the median income amount is not real because many in Hawaii have to have 2 or more jobs to survive. $40,000 is more realistic than the amounts the commission sets.

  • LONG-TERM CARE — “A bill to create a state tax to fund long-term care is up for decision making in the same committee on Monday afternoon.”

    Funded by an increase in the General Excise Tax!!!!

    • Camel’s nose meet tent. The amount to be provided for LTC is a fraction of annual costs. Expect overwhelming pressure to jack that number up as the first users appear.

  • How dey do dat? E-zay! Kelo v. City of New London. “Takings Clause”.
    Ground leases that are about to expire? Hellooo Honolulu! Nevah happen?
    “Rent control” can work in “Berzerkely”, CA, but not Honolulu? University of California v. our “da U”. One University helps the community, one university, not so much. Where is Randy Roth when really needed?

  • These Politicians stand for nothing but re-election. Right now they’re trying to figure out how they can funnel any taxpayer resources spent on housing to the proper campaign donors (PRP members). Hawaii government is so corrupt, nothing gets done without taxpayers paying a bloated price to cover the graft,cronyism and campaign money that must accompany any public works contract or service.

  • Please appropriate more money for Long Term Care. Many residents of Leahi & Maluhia are elderly and were once productive, hard working folks who deserve to be cared for with compassion and dignity.

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