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UHERO County Forecast: Economies Still Growing, But Slowing

Prospects are good for continued growth in each of Hawaii’s four counties, if at a slower pace than in recent years. The tourism expansion has staying power, but capacity constraints will necessarily limit future gains. Construction is approaching or settling at the peak for this cycle, and tight labor markets will mean a deceleration of growth across other sectors. The counties share common risks, primarily from the continuing policy uncertainties emanating from Washington, DC.

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.

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UHERO State Forecast Update: Growth Continues, For Now

Hawaii’s economy has started the year in fine form. Moderate job and income growth are continuing, and generally favorable global and national conditions are maintaining impressive tourism numbers. The construction buildup has eased, but the industry remains very active. While developments in Washington could hurt us, for now prospects look good for continued growth, if at a less rapid pace than we have seen in recent years.

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.

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The Conversation: Sumner La Croix on Replacing the Aloha Stadium

Sumner La Croix appears on The Conversation to discuss the possibility of replacing the Aloha Stadium.

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Effect of Electric Vehicles on Design, Operation and Cost of a 100% Renewable Power System

This report outlines the effect that electric vehicles could have on the cost of transport and electricity production in the context of a 100% renewable power system (RPS). Results presented here were produced using the SWITCH power system planning model, configured to choose a least-cost plan to achieve 100% renewable power on Oahu by 2045, subject to a 5% limit on biofuel usage.

Working Paper


Insights on PBS Hawaii: Sumner LaCroix on "Should We Change The Minimum Wage to a Living Wage?"

Despite taking Hawaii’s minimum wage up to $9.25 an hour – and a scheduled increase to $10.10 effective next year – Hawaii’s minimum wage workers are faced with an impossible challenge: the biggest gap nationally between a state’s minimum hourly wage and the most basic earnings required to meet the local cost of living. Should we change the minimum wage to a living wage? Sumner La Croix joins Yunji De Nies and guests on Insights on PBS Hawaii to discuss potential impact.

WATCH


The Conversation: Jonathan Page on the Benefits of a UH Education

Jonathan Page appears on The Conversation to discuss our latest UHERO Report: Financial Benefits to a University of Hawaii Education.

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Financial Benefits to a University of Hawaii Education

Each year in the State of Hawaii, over 11,000 graduating seniors must decide whether to attend college or join the workforce. This report estimates the potential rate of return for associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and post-graduate degrees from the University of Hawaii (UH) system using a standard approach.

UHERO Report

 


Is Hawaii's Hotel Room Tax Law Obsolete?

With tax collections falling behind expectations, State lawmakers are pressuring the tax department to increase effort to collect uncollected taxes from internet sales.* In 2015 the State Attorney General’s Office scored a “major” victory when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that online travel companies (OTCs) are required to pay Hawaii’s general excise tax (GET) on their hotel bookings. Subsequently, the Tax Appeal Court ordered OTCs to pay $53.1 million in back general excise taxes plus interest to the state.

*Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser, “Collection of online taxes pushed,” January 29, 2017.

UHERO Brief


Electric Utility Regulation Under Enhanced Renewable Energy Integration and Distributed Generation

The economic environment for electric utilities is changing in the United States given increased penetration of distributed generation and limited rooms for sales growth. This paper reviews the recent development of relevant policies in the United States and their economic impacts. This review indicates both challenges and opportunities in improving the policies to enhance distributed generation, and in finding the directions in which electric utility regulation should be reformed.

WORKING PAPER


The Conversation: Peter Fuleky on the UHERO State Forecast Update

Posted March 6, 2017 | Categories: Media, Hawaii's Economy

Peter Fuleky appears on The Conversation to talk about the UHERO State Forecast Update: As Growth Ebbs, Risks Swell.

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Hawaii News Now: Carl Bonham on the UHERO State Forecast Update

Posted March 3, 2017 | Categories: Media, Hawaii's Economy

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham joins Howard Dicus on Sunrise to discuss the UHERO State Forecast Update: As Growth Ebbs, Risks Swell.

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UHERO State Forecast Update: As Growth Ebbs, Risks Swell

After seven years of sustained growth in the Islands, deceleration is now underway. In part this stems from the slowing pace of construction industry expansion. But it also reflects a generalized slowing as demand growth eases and labor markets tighten. Tourism has kept up a record-breaking pace longer than expected; still, there will only be room for so much additional growth. The economic outlook remains generally positive, if clouded by the many things that could go wrong in Washington or closer to home.

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.

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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%.

UHERO Brief


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.

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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.

This executive summary is provided as a service to the public. For a complete analysis and detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO’s Forecast Project.

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