Mahalo to everyone who submitted a survey. Over 700 people respond this year! I greatly appreciate your input, especially from the many people who took extra time to write comments.
The survey results are below. But first, some highlights from the comments:
Price of Paradise
- Many people had a hard time picking just one thing to reduce the price of paradise. A lot of you picked “Other,” and then said you wanted all of the things done.
I want them all too. But I asked for your priority because sometimes we can only get one or two choices. It helps me to know how the community would choose.
- Many of the people who marked “Other” were concerned that the housing is actually affordable (not fake “affordable”), that it stay affordable, that it’s in livable communities, and that the State doesn’t build or manage it because they want it maintained.
I completely agree.
Mentally Ill Chronically Homeless
- Our community overwhelmingly supports long-term shelters with services for mentally ill, chronically homeless individuals. The vast majority of commenters recognized that this kind of support in our community will help our community.
I introduced a bill that supports a pilot project: secure housing with mental health services for severely mentally ill, chronic homeless individuals. We need to move these individuals off the streets to where they can be safe and stabilized to the point where they can move into housing. I appreciate the assistance many of you have given in this effort.
Impacts from Tourism
- While people were evenly divided between the best way to reduce the impacts tourism has on all of us, very few people felt the industry had no negative impacts.
I’m working with several Senators to redirect some Hawaii Tourism funds away from marketing Hawaii, and instead use them to maintain areas both tourists and residents use. The Senate also unanimously passed a bill to manage and enforce the City limits on vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods. Hopefully the House will agree with both ideas.
- I had thought this would be a close vote, but it had the highest number of votes in support of raising the minimum wage. But those opposed wrote thoughtful comments on the impacts on our small businesses – who actually employ the majority of workers in Hawaii.
I support a phased approach to increase the minimum wage, but think we need to couple that with a refundable payroll tax credit for small businesses. The high cost of living is affecting our workers as well as our small businesses, and we need to find ways to help both.