Office of the Governor – News Release – Governor Green Delivers Second State of the State AddressPosted on Jan 22, 2024 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases
JOSH GREEN, M.D.
GOVERNOR GREEN DELIVERS SECOND STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS
Initiatives Will Support Maui Recovery and Improve Affordability for Local People
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2024
HONOLULU — Governor Josh Green, M.D., in his second annual State of the State address, today proposed legislative and executive action this year to support further recovery for the people of Maui; to make housing more available and affordable for Hawai‘i residents; to reduce homelessness and lower the cost of living in our state.
“Today I am here to report that — although we have faced great challenges and suffered even greater loss over the past year — we have come together as one ‘ohana to recover and to heal,” Governor Green said. “I am here to report that the state of Hawai‘i is strong.”
Governor Green is continuing to urge owners of short-term rentals on Maui to become part of the $500 million Maui Interim Housing Plan to house fire-displaced Maui residents, noting that 52% of all short-term rentals in Hawai‘i belong to out-of-state owners, and that 27% of short-term rental owners control 20 or more units. On Maui alone there are 27,000 short-term rental units.
Partners including the state of Hawai‘i, the County of Maui, the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, CNHA, FEMA, and the Red Cross will cover the fair market value of each converted rental for two years, and also provide a property tax exemption for 18 months to those who participate. The goal is to move all displaced Maui families from short-term hotels into long-term housing by July 1, with most households moving in by March 1.
Owners are encouraged to step up to house Maui wildfire survivors by contacting [email protected].
The Governor further pledges to sign into law, any bill to help move short-term rentals and vacant investment properties owned by non-residents, into the local housing market to increase supply and bring down prices for Hawai‘i families.
Governor Green’s “House Hawai‘i’s ‘Ohana” plan is landmark legislation that will provide exemptions from capital gains, conveyance, and general excise taxes to owners of short-term rentals who sell to a local resident, or who convert a home to a long-term rental to a local resident. This will increase supply and bring down prices for local families.
The Governor also is proposing a child and dependent tax credit totaling up to $87 million annually for Hawai‘i families.
To help alleviate the suffering of homelessness in our neighborhoods, Governor Green proposes building as many as 20 new kauhale communities across the state, to reduce homelessness by 50% by 2026.
Governor Green’s Climate Impact Fee on visitors will provide the needed resources to protect our environment and increase awareness of the impacts of climate change, without raising taxes or fees on Hawai‘i residents.
The Governor’s supplemental budget for fiscal year 2025 places a huge emphasis on infrastructure and housing, with requests totaling $373 million. This continues to be a top statewide priority of Governor Green’s Administration.
The Governor’s funding priorities set aside up to $600 million in the budget for Maui’s recovery costs that will continue into 2027.
In his speech, Governor Green also reviewed the many steps forward achieved during his first year in office, some of which are:
Phase one of the Green Affordability Plan, which in its first year provided $104 million in direct income tax relief to Hawai‘i’s ALICE families, who are Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, (and) Employed. Some 44% of all families in our state are ALICE families, barely getting by. Sixty-three percent of all Hawaiian families fall into this category. The Phase One tax relief package supported working families by doubling Hawai‘i’s earned income tax credit and our food tax credit.
The teacher shortage was slashed by more than 50% in a single year after Governor Green successfully negotiated a new four-year contract with the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association and the 13,500 teachers it represents.
Some 10,800 new units of low-income housing for struggling families were immediately approved under the Emergency Proclamation on Housing. Attention is now focused on affordable housing projects in urban Honolulu and along the growing rail route.
The Build Beyond Barriers Working Group has also begun to reform housing bureaucracy, and has approved or accelerated multiple new projects that will bring thousands of homes to teachers, nurses, firefighters, and working families across the state in the coming years.
The Maui Recovery Fund was created in November by a coalition formed by the Governor. The fund, at $175 million so far, will rapidly provide funds to families who lost loved ones, or who suffered serious injuries in the fires.
In conjunction with the County of Maui the difficult decision was made to reopen West Maui to tourism, with the exception of Lahaina. As a result, just two weeks ago the Council on Revenues readjusted its economic projection up to 4% growth, from the previously projected 1.3% growth. This adds almost $500 million of revenue to our state, for taking on the greatest challenges that arise, including most importantly, housing survivors on Maui.
The state’s first medical respite kauhale, Pūlama Ola, was opened for a six-month pilot period, in the Governor’s backyard. The successful project’s lessons will be used at additional kauhale that will be opened around the state, using $33 million appropriated by state lawmakers at the Governor’s request.
The first significant gun buyback initiative in the state removed some 500 firearms from O‘ahu’s streets, and more are planned.
A full copy of the speech can be found here.
Images from the second annual State of the State Address are here; photo credit Office of the Governor.
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Office of the Governor, State of Hawai‘i
Email: [email protected]
Director of Communications
Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi
Email: [email protected]