comscore Affordable health care tops Mayor Harry Kim’s list of bills | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News

Affordable health care tops Mayor Harry Kim’s list of bills

HILO >> The mayor of Hawaii County has identified six legislative priorities ahead of a scheduled meeting with all four county mayors to begin the regular legislative session.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee and House Finance Committee have scheduled a joint informational session at the state Capitol in Honolulu on Wednesday, West Hawaii Today reported Friday.

A top priority is helping make health care more affordable by exempting private health care providers from the general excise tax, Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said.

“I had 12 individuals coming in to say, ‘Harry, we are in a crisis.’ On top of that, they said it’s getting worse,” Kim said. “Without a good health care system, you don’t have community growth.”

The exemption could make a big difference to physicians, while not costing the state all that much in taxes, Managing Director Roy Takemoto said.

Kim’s administration presented the priorities Monday to House Speaker Scott Saiki after communicating them to his county committees, Takemoto said.

Replacing cesspools with a sewer system is also on the list of priorities after health officials confirmed about 50,000 of the 88,000 in the state are on the Big Island, officials said. That priority aligns with a law passed in the 2017 legislative session, which requires all cesspools be replaced by 2050, officials said.

“It will be very, very difficult to meet the cesspool requirement,” Kim said. “One stroke of the pen increases the cost of a house by $10,000 to $20,000.”

Other priorities include providing more funding to homeless projects and redeveloping deteriorating spaces along Banyan Drive, officials said.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Comments (7)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up