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Steepest rents in the U.S.! The price of paradise?

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Steepest rents in U.S.

It's no secret that Hawaii is an expensive place to live and shop and it doesn't look like there is a sign of relief from the high rents that are pricing people out of their homes. There is a huge lack of affordable housing in the islands especially on Oahu (Honolulu County), Maui and Kona on the Big Island. The homeless or houseless population is growing by the day. In other words this sucks butt for everyone that's trying to or want to make Hawaii their home. :( In January the minimum wage increases to $7.25 but that means squat if you want to make it there.

source: Honolulu Advertiser

To afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in 2006, Hawai'i renters had to earn $48,940 a year

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good article, especially for me, but you would think with 14% vacant, the price would drop somewhat, you would also think that if it is such a problem they would actualyl build more affordable housing. How is the market for 1 family homes in hawaii?

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^There's a lot of red tape there. I can't quite put my finger on it but there's a lot of old timers sitting happy in influential positions that need to be dethrowned so Hawaii can be more welcoming to newer ideas. Nearly everything is seeing increases (e.g., electricity, shipping, food, etc) its ridiculous. Because so many things are increasing farmers and other people that aid to Hawaii's sustainability are having to close down because they can't afford feed that needs to be shipped over, they also have to pay high land taxes or whatever too. Meanwhile there are people profiting on the other end that will end up losing in the end because once they price out their customers who's going to pay their wages? Monopoly is another problem in many areas. The people of Hawaii have been taken advantage of for way too long since the days of the Big Five and corruption. You should read up on the Big Five they were horrible and nearly ran the state during their hay days. :(

As for 1 family homes hmm... on Oahu its really expensive, if you want affordable you'd almost likely have to move to a crappy area. It also all depends on what type of place you'd like to live in: apartment, condo, studio, an actual home, etc. There are some one bedroom apartment complexes in town especially around Makiki, Ala Moana-Kaka'ako areas that are around the $700-$800 a month price range maybe cheaper maybe higher but those are hard to find.

Here's another article of possible relief in some crucial area's as outlined by the Governor:

Some highlights from Gov. Linda Lingle's two-year budget submitted to the Legislature yesterday:

Source: Star Bulletin & Honolulu Advertiser


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hmm.. state and sales taxes are roughly 4 or so percent each. The current governor has been trying to take food and some other stuff off of being taxed but i think she was defeated.

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Here are some of the latest rankings/poles. Let's see where the state stacks up in some recent poles/rankings:

1-In other news Hawaii was ranked 11th among the 50 states and District of Columbia in terms of having women-friendly economies, according to a national study released Wednesday by the Institute for Women's Policy Research. :thumbsup: Some positive news!

2-Hawai'i farmers received $16.3 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture subsidies from 1995 through 2005, according to a watchdog group that wants Congress to reduce crop support payments in agriculture legislation that lawmakers will debate next year.

That ranked Hawai'i 49th out of 50 states during that timeframe with Rhode Island the only state receiving fewer overall farm subsidies, the Environmental Working Group said yesterday.

3- Personal income in Hawaii grew 1.7 percent in the third quarter, putting it ninth among all states for percentage growth, the U.S. Commerce Department reports.

Total personal income in Hawaii was $46.9 billion, up from $44.2 billion a year ago. The only states with faster income growth were, in descending order, Washington state, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada, Arizona and Louisiana.

4-Fourth-biggest marijuana growing state in the nation, according to a report from a researcher who advocates changing laws on the drug.

The report, Marijuana Production in the United States (2006), said pot is the state's leading agricultural crop, with an estimated 2.38 million pounds worth $3.82 billion being cultivated here. Only California, Tennessee and Kentucky have higher production, according to the study by marijuana public policy analyst Jon Gettman.

haha, i just had to add that last one

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^Yeah its really messed up, the state should get more and someone should be advocating for more funds because they are becoming way too dependent on imports. From a once self-sustaining place to a now import-dependent place is not something people there should stand for. :angry:

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Just when you thought that it couldn't get any higher....BAM!

Higher price of paradise in 2007

Source: Honolulu Advertiser


Hawai'i's high cost of living is set to rise as a host of taxes and rate increases takes effect with the ringing in of the new year.

O'ahu shoppers will notice it at the cash register with a general excise tax surcharge of 0.5 percentage points being added to their bills.

At service stations, there will be an about 11-cent increase as a state tax break expires. On the docks, it will cost more to bring in a Mainland container and handle it, while monthly Medicare costs will climb.

Those are just some of the increases scheduled as government raises money for a rail system and businesses increase rates to fund improvements or cover other costs. On the flip side, the state is increasing the standard deduction for income taxes and adjusting tax brackets. Gov. Linda Lingle also wants to use $300 million of the state budget surplus for other tax relief. But for now, many people will see an increase in their expenses that could outstrip wage gains.

"They're hammering us," said retiree John Stringfellow, 72. "The cost of living is accelerating at a higher rate here than it is on the Mainland."

The tax increases are just some of the costs that are going up for O'ahu residents, though. Hawaiian Electric Co. has proposed a 7.2 percent increase in rates, while interisland barge service Young Brothers Ltd. wants to hike its rates. Later this year, tuition will rise for University of Hawai'i students, while public school lunches will jump by 25 percent.

The Hawaii Medical Service Association most likely will seek a rate increase for its small business groups after starting the year with a 4.4 percent increase for large employers.

The general excise tax surcharge has generated the most discussion and is the biggest state tax hike since 1965, said Lowell Kalapa, head of the Tax Foundation of Hawai'i. Kalapa said the surcharge, which raises the general excise tax to 4.5 percent from 4.0 percent, will be felt indirectly and directly by residents.

The direct impact will be seen on cash register receipts where the higher tax is shown. The indirect rise will occur as businesses raise prices to recoup increased taxes on their own purchases, he said. Hawaiian Electric will pay the surcharge on fuel for its generators and pass the cost along in prices it charges to customers, Kalapa said.

"What they don't realize is it's not only the tax, but it's the shelf price that will go up next year," Kalapa said. He's calculated the surcharge will cost a family of four making $80,000 to $90,000 a year about $450 annually.

There are proposals to mitigate some of the higher levies, such as one by Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann to give homeowner-occupants a tax break. Gov. Linda Lingle has a proposal to extend a general excise tax exemption on gasoline blended with ethanol. Some opponents of Hannemann's idea say it could result in higher rates for landlords who would pass the increase on to renters.

Stringfellow, a Makiki resident, said he could absorb the increases but worried about people who were less fortunate than himself. Increases in the cost of living make it more difficult for people to live here, including some of his own family, he said. "I'm not happy that two out of my three children left the Islands because of economic factors."

All of the increases figure to add into inflation in Honolulu, which had the biggest gain in the country during the first half of 2006.

Paul Brewbaker, Bank of Hawaii chief economist, said he is projecting inflation will rise 4.6 percent in 2007, or unchanged from his full-year estimate for this year.

From that perspective, people are already familiar with the changes in spending they'll face in 2007. In some instances the higher costs may not be big enough to be noticed by some people. Matson's rate hike, for example, would add about 10.6 cents to a bag of rice or a penny to a head of lettuce, the company has said.

"Much of this has already been going on," Brewbaker said. He noted some of the increases will result in improved service or better systems that will benefit consumers ultimately. Young Brothers, for example, is proposing to hike rates by an overall average of 10.7 percent as it makes investments in its computer systems and replaces aging barges with newer equipment.

Brewbaker's forecast calls for inflation to begin receding after 2007 as increases in oil prices and material prices of the last few years stabilize. In the meantime, pay increases, such as a 50-cent increase in Hawai'i's minimum wage, will help offset some of the rising costs here.

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^Here's some good news. The Governor of Hawaii just made a proposal for broad tax relief. Of course it is no secret that the cost of living is very high in Hawaii while jobs with liveable wages are scarce but there are some that are trying to make a difference. I really think that the current Governor of Hawaii has really been trying her best to make Hawaii better especially after decades of near nothingness by the "good ole boys". The only thing about her proposals is that it the Dems often play the political card instead of trying to collaborate. Hawaii really needs new leadership and people that are creative, open-minded to trying new things and not from the same ole same ole clan.

Governor Lingle proposes broad tax relief

Source: Pacific Business News

Gov. Linda Lingle on Thursday proposed a $346 million tax package that would refund $100 to every person in certain households, eliminate the general excise tax on basic foods and raise the state's standard income tax deduction.

Hawaii's income tax standard deduction, which is used by taxpayers who don't itemize their deductions, was raised last year to 40 percent of the federal amount from 20 percent, a level that had been unchanged for 17 years. Lingle proposes to take it up further, to 75 percent of the federal amount.

"While we made progress last year in adjusting the standard deduction and widening the income tax brackets, we need to do more to help Hawaii's wage earners keep more of their take-home pay," Lingle said.

Lingle is also proposing to adjust the state's tax measures, including the standard deduction, personal exemption and tax brackets, each year for inflation. Lingle's office said the change would affect 82 percent of Hawaii taxpayers with a savings of $10 million per year.

"Our residents are struggling with the high cost of living and they will continue to fall further behind unless we provide immediate and long-term tax relief," Lingle said in a statement.

The tax break on food would remove the general excise tax from basic staples -- such as milk, eggs, canned fish, cereal, juices, peanut butter, beans, carrots, infant formula and infant cereal -- and would eliminate $55 million in taxes over the next two years.

"No one should be taxed for buying basic food necessities," Lingle said.

The tax refund, a constitutional requirement whenever the state's general fund balance exceeds 5 percent of general fund revenues at the end of two successive fiscal years, would be a one-time refund of $100 per person for families with household incomes under $100,000.

Families making more than that would receive $25 per person. The refunds would return a total of $90.8 million to more than one million people.

Lingle also proposes:

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