JANUARY 24, 2016 · By Chad Blair
Here’s what’s important to young lawmakers at the Hawaii Legislature and the Honolulu City Council this year:
- Creating an outline of state goals, timeline and funding mechanisms to revitalize the Kapalama area and develop affordable housing units with coordination between state and city agencies, private landowners and residents;
- Amending Hawaii’s tax increment financing law to provide the counties with the power to issue bonds to fund improvements made to specific communities. Bonds will be repaid through the increase in property tax assessments caused by improvements;
- Requiring state departments to offer 75 year leases for affordable housing developments;
- Implementing a tax on real estate investment trusts, with an exemption for affordable housing developments; and
- Increasing the cap on amounts deposited into the Rental Housing Revolving Fund to $100 million.
Those ideas were outlined Friday by members of the Hawaii Future Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of legislators under 35.
“The lack of affordable housing options has resonated strongly with residents of all ages across our state, but most profoundly with young people starting out in life,” said GOP Rep. Beth Fukumoto Chang in a press release. “There is no quick-fix solution; however, these bills set the groundwork to give the state and city a long-term vision and to start collecting the necessary funds to make plans into reality.”
The caucus was founded in 2013 and is modeled after the national Future Caucus led by U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard.
The Hawaii Future Caucus is co-chaired by Fukumoto Chang, Honolulu City Councilmember Brandon Elefante and Rep. Takashi Ohno.
Other members include Reps. Linda Ichiyama, Kaniela Ing, Aaron Ling Johanson, Jarrett Keohokalole and Chris Lee, and Councilmember Trever Ozawa.