Prior to the 2021 legislative session, Faith Action endorsed concepts for legislation. Now that the session has begun, bills have been introduced that completely match some of these concepts, and in other cases the bills are closely related but do not match the concepts entirely. Faith Action committees are working to have bills passed, as follows:
Environmental Justice Task Force
HB 134 and SB 311 set a fee on fossil fuels to be paid by distributors, with the revenue generated by the fee returned to the residents of Hawaii. Known as Carbon Cashback, this program discourages the use of fossil fuels because it has the effect of increasing prices, which makes renewable energy more competitive. Any adverse effect on people will be minimized because the revenue from the fee is returned in equal shares to residents, and most will benefit financially. The reduction in the use of fossil fuels helps the environment.
Housing Now! committee
HB 283 applies Hawaii’s corporate tax to REITs, with the revenue to be deposited to the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund.
SB 785 applies Hawaii’s corporate tax to REITs, with the revenue deposited to the general fund.
HB 286 and SB 786 require REITs to notify the Hawaii Department of Taxation that they are operating as REITs, even though they may be exempt from Hawaii’s corporate tax.
HB 607 and SB 1 establish the ALOHA homes program to provide low-cost, high density leasehold homes for sale to Hawaii residents on state-owned lands within one mile of any public transit station. To qualify, a buyer must be a resident of Hawaii. The owner must be an occupant of the housing unit, and no occupants of the housing unit may own any other property.
SB 733 implements the requirements of the ALOHA Homes program by designating State-owned lands within one mile of any rail station for the development of housing priced at below market rates for owner-occupants who own no other real property.
SB 40 implements the requirements of the ALOHA Homes program by requiring housing developed by the Hawaii Housing and Development Corporation to be occupied by the owners who own no other real property.
Stadium Affordable Housing
SB 737 requires at least 100,000 housing units to be built on the Aloha Stadium site, as 40% of the site is not needed for the new stadium or affiliated parking. 80% of the housing units shall be sold or rented at prices that are affordable to individuals or families with incomes at or below 80% AMI.
Empty Homes Fee
HB440 assesses a conveyance tax surcharge on properties that are vacant for more than half of a calendar year.
Increasing Housing Density on Urbanized Land
SB 1278 allows the counties to permit 4-plexes to be built on land currently zoned for single-family homes.
Bills have been introduced that may stimulate community planning for affordable housing, as follows:
SB 779 incentivizes counties to meet specified numerical objectives for authorizing the construction of new housing units by penalizing them if those that do not meet their objectives.
SB 33 requires each county to create a housing supply plan.
Living Wage Committee
Seven bills introduced in the legislature increase Hawaii’s minimum wage. However, due to Hawaii’s economic crisis, none of them raise it to $17, which has been determined to be Hawaii’s living wage.