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