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The Exorbitant Cost of Collecting Honolulu’s Rail Surcharge Tax
Act 247, SLH 2005, granted counties the authority to impose a county surcharge of no more than 0.5% on gross income that is subject to the State’s GET [General Excise Tax] at the rate of 4.0% to fund county public transportation systems... The City and County of Honolulu was the only county to adopt the surcharge, which took effect on January 1, 2007. The State keeps 10.0% of the collections from the county surcharge as administrative costs, and Honolulu County receives the remaining 90.0% of the collections.
Hawaii’s State Government has unnecessarily profited from the Honolulu rail project. It is time for State lawmakers to rethink the 10% administrative fee. Right now, it is exorbitant. A more reasonable fee is between 0.5% and 1.0%.
The Conversation: Carl Bonham on the Annual Hawaii Forecast with Asia-Pacific Outlook
UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to talk about the Annual Hawaii Forecast with Asia-Pacific Outlook: Healthy Economy Faces New Administration Risks.
Annual Hawaii Forecast with Asia-Pacific Outlook: Healthy Economy Faces New Administration Risks
The Hawaii economy continues to perform well. Visitors are up, unemployment is down, and the pace of building remains healthy. But the expansion, now in its seventh year, has yet to fully restore household incomes. And increments to growth will be smaller going forward, with a topping out of construction in 2018 and slowing of annual job growth to a half-percent by the end of the decade. There are large downside risks to the forecast, including the strong dollar and a weak China. Neither is as large a risk as the possibility of policy errors by the incoming Trump administration.
Health and Health Inequality during the Great Recession: Evidence from the PSID
We employ granular information on local macroeconomic conditions from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to estimate the impact of the Great Recession on health and health-related behaviors. Among working-aged adults, a one percentage point increase in the county-level unemployment rate resulted in a 2.4-3.2% increase in chronic drinking, a 1.8-1.9% decrease in mental health status, and a 7.8-8.9% increase in reports of poor health. Notably, there was heterogeneity in the impact of the recession across socioeconomic groups. Particularly, obesity and overweight rates increased for blacks and high school educated people, while there is weak evidence that they decreased for whites and the college educated. Along some dimensions, the Great Recession may have widened some socioeconomic health disparities in the United States.
Hawaii News Now: Carl Bonham on BIA "Still Houseless in Honolulu" Summit
UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham joins Howard Dicus on Sunrise to discuss Hawaii's housing shortfall and his presentation for the Building Industry Association of Hawaii's 2016 summit, "Still Houseless in Honolulu."
Desperately Seeking Housing: Presentation from BIA's "Still Houseless in Honolulu" 2016 Summit
Carl Bonham presented "Desperately Seeking Housing" at BIA's "Still Houseless in Honolulu" summit on November 15, 2016.
Do Natural Disasters Make Sustainable Growth Impossible?
We consider the prospects for sustainable growth using expected utility models of optimal investment under threat from a natural disaster. Extension of a discrete, two-period model, to continuous time over an infinite time horizon permits the analysis of sustainability under uncertainty regarding adverse events, including both one-time and recurrent disasters. Natural disasters, with destruction of productive capital, disrupt the optimal consumption and utility paths, but the Arrow et al. (2004) sustainability criterion is still satisfied even without adding strong or weak sustainability constraints. We also consider a separate natural resource sector and show that, except for extreme cases, the optimal steady state level of the renewable resource is not affected by the possibility of natural disasters. In the case of catastrophic events, however, damage to the resource system may be severe enough to push the system below a critical value tipping point, undermining the prospects of long-run sustainability.
Hawaii News Now: Carl Bonham on the Hawaii Construction Forecast
Hawaii Public Radio: Sumner La Croix on Why It’s Always Been Expensive To Buy a Home in Hawaii
UHERO fellow Sumner La Croix appears on HPR to talk about why it's always been expensive to buy a home in Hawaii.
The Conversation: Carl Bonham on the Hawaii Construction Forecast
UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to talk about the Hawaii Constuction Forecast: Building Cycle Approaches Peak.
Hawaii Construction Forecast: Building Cycle Approaches Peak
Construction has accelerated over the past year and will approach its cyclical peak over the next. Jobs and income are now growing at double-digit rates, driven by strength across all major sub-sectors and, increasingly, all counties. Increments to growth will be much smaller going forward, and activity will begin to fall off by 2018 as the surge in resort and condo building wanes, costs for builders and homebuyers mount, and global economic conditions become less favorable.
This analysis and near-term forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.
UHERO State Forecast Update: Hawaii Growth Downshifting
Hawaii’s economy continues to roll along, but with signs of a slowdown ahead. The environment for tourism remains guarded, and the maturing of the construction cycle will remove what has been a major impetus for growth. Compared with recent experience, average rates of growth for jobs and income will trend lower over the next several years.
Global Value Chains and Changing Trade Elasticities
The trade collapse of 2008-2009 and the anemic trade growth since then raise the question of whether trade elasticities may be undergoing fundamental structural change. A potential source of such change is the spread of global value chains (GVCs), which have brought a marked increase in the use of intermediate goods and changes in the nature of trade competition. We review the recent literature on the impact of GVCs on measured trade elasticities and the ways in which their emergence may affect how we estimate and interpret trade responsiveness. We then draw out a few implications of recent research for global modeling.
The Conversation: Carl Bonham on Potential Problems with Monetary Policy in the Future & Long Term Lack of Inflation
UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to talk about whether low interest rates and low inflation have become the new normal.
Estimating the Opportunity for Load-Shifting in Hawaii: An Analysis of Proposed Residential Time-of-Use Rates
Hawaii’s largest electric utility, Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) and its subsidiaries recently proposed a Time of Use (TOU) pricing scheme for residential rates. The TOU scheme has three tiers of prices: daytime, on-peak, and nighttime. The proposed rates have the highest cost during the on-peak period from 5pm to 10pm. For Oahu, the lowest cost is at nighttime, from 10pm to 9am. The difference between high and low rates is $0.33/kWh. For Maui and Hawaii Island, the lowest cost is during the daytime, 9am to 5pm. The difference between high and low rates are $0.35/kWh and $0.50/kWh, respectively. It is not stated whether the rates will be implemented as an opt-in, opt-out or mandatory program. This report summarizes literature on time varying pricing for residential rates to inform Hawaii’s electricity stakeholders, including ratepayers and policy-makers, of the potential impacts and considerations regarding the potential for TOU pricing in Hawaii.