State spending soars; red-light cameras activate

PBN's editor-in-chief shares thoughts on government spending and the new red-light safety cameras, saying that while he thinks the cameras are a good idea, the government should be more careful with spending.

State spending soars; red-light cameras activate

Upcoming nomination deadlines

The deadline for 40 under 40 is May 12. Hawaii's Fastest Growing Companies deadline is May 19.

We're looking for people who have a combination of success in business and the community. How to write an outstanding nomination? Show, don't Tell! The adjectives 'inspiring,' 'impressive' and similar ones fall flat when used throughout nominations. Try to quantify their actions by using verbs. Details are important!

Fastest Growing Companies has a more direct approach, since it is all about revenue. We are looking for companies with a profit that have been operating in Hawaii since January 1, 2020. They must be privately owned and operated, and independently run. Their financial statements should show that their revenues were higher in 2022 than they were in 2020.

The next two are:

Hawaii's Most Respected Leaders on July 21. The event was formerly called Business Leadership Hawaii. We thought it needed to be renamed. BLH always sorted the honorees according to business size. Most Admired leaders sort them by industry to better represent Hawaii's business community.

For all of these,

What's next for Red Hill

You can take part in an online survey by the U.S. Navy to share your thoughts on what should happen with Red Hill Fuel Facility after it is emptied. Visit, the deadline is May 31.

There are some pretty large holes in the earth. Imagine 20 steel-lined tank, each twice as tall and wide as Aloha Tower. This is what a rendering of the survey shows.

Red Hill is perfect for our much-needed Toilet Paper, Spam and Rice Strategic Reserve!

Spending out of control

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii warned this week that the Legislature was about to violate Hawaii's constitution limits on government spending. The state Legislature's budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year will exceed the state's constitutionally-imposed expenditure ceiling of $1.06 billion, or more than 10%. This is according to the conference draft bills released by the legislative body over the weekend and on yesterday.

The spending cap dates back to 1978 Hawaii State Constitutional Convention. It 'allows the state spending to increase by the three-year median of Hawaii's income growth.' According to GIH President and CEO Keli'i akina, the spending cap was intended to 'bend runaway spending.' The genuine concern expressed by taxpayers about the government's costs consuming an increasing portion of their income.

House Bill 300 proposes spending $11.29 billion from the general fund of the state. This is not the final bill. Grassroot Institute reports that nearly 30 other bills contain still more state appropriations.

The leaders of 1978 did not put in place a powerful enforcement mechanism. The institute stated that the state spending cap could only be exceeded if both House and Senate approved the spending bills with a two thirds majority, and stated their reasons for exceeding the limit.

It's that simple -- they just have to agree to go over the limit. It's like asking a family full of shopaholics not to go crazy with their credit cards.

Taxpayers who vanish

Hawaii, meanwhile, is losing taxpayers. American City Business Journals' national newsroom just sent me updated U.S. Census Bureau data about Hawaii.

Honolulu has lost 16,667 residents between 2020 and 2022. This represents a drop of 1,65%. Maui lost 409 people.

Hawaii County has gained 5,603 residents, Kauai 624 and Kalawao County 2 individuals.

This is a net loss to the economy of 10,847 individuals.

The government is becoming bigger and costlier. We are becoming smaller.

Lights! Cameras! Tickets!

The Hawaii Department of Transportation, which is responsible for the two-year state pilot program, has confirmed to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that all 10 red-light cameras on Oahu have been activated.

Last Friday, the last 10 cameras were activated at South King Street and Ward Avenue.

The penalties range from $97 up to $200 for each infraction. You can find a list here of intersections where cameras have been issuing tickets to some since November last year.

It is described as a public safety experiment, akin to a "two-year plan" mentality. Red light cameras have been studied since the 1980s, and the results of this research are known.

The National Motorists Association claims that red-light cameras increase the danger of driving, not lessen it. According to the National Motorists Association, five studies dating back to 1980s prove that red-light cameras increase accidents. Here is an overview of all the studies.