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Josh Green wants to address Hawaii’s homelessness, tourism challenges

Dec 29, 2022

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Josh Green is a medical doctor, former state senator and representative who has transitioned from Hawaii’s lieutenant governor to the state’s governor. During his gubernatorial campaign, the Democrat touted his management of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Commonwealth Fund ranked Hawaii first in the country for its COVID-19 pandemic response.

Hawaii’s economy suffered during shutdowns, particularly because tourism is the state’s main industry. The cost of living was already high in Hawaii, and inflation has made it even worse.

“I’d like to get rid of the tax on food and medication to lower the cost of living for our people. I’d like to put incentives to develop new industries, like agriculture,” Josh Green said.

Green also said he wants to address Hawaii’s homelessness crisis.

“I’ll bring public officials together with private developers and philanthropists, and build thousands of new homes for Hawaii’s families,” Green said. “With will and determination, we’ll also do another thing, we’ll turn the thousands of illegal Airbnbs into affordable rentals so our regular people can just afford to live in our communities,” Green said.

Airbnbs are popular and lucrative in Hawaii, but there are restrictions on them in some regions because they’re taking up inventory that could be long-term rentals for residents. 

In addition, to encourage more affordable housing and fund environmental efforts, Green has proposed a controversial visitor’s fee of $50 per person. He said the fee would generate up to $350 million annually for the state and discourage some people from visiting.

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SHANNON LONGWORTH: THIS MEDICAL DOCTOR, FORMER STATE SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVE HAS TRANSITIONED FROM LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF HAWAII TO GOVERNOR.

AS ONE OF NINE NEW GOVERNORS ENTERING 2023, JOSH GREEN IS JUST ONE NAME YOU NEED TO KNOW. 

DURING HIS CAMPAIGN, GREEN TOUTED HIS MANAGEMENT OF THE PANDEMIC. THE COMMONWEALTH FUND DID RANK HAWAII FIRST IN THE COUNTRY FOR ITS PANDEMIC RESPONSE.

BUT THE ECONOMY TOOK A HIT FROM SHUTDOWNS, PARTICULARLY BECAUSE TOURISM IS THE MAIN INDUSTRY. THE COST OF LIVING WAS ALREADY HIGH IN HAWAII, AND INFLATION HAS MADE IT EVEN WORSE.

JOSH GREEN | GOV. ELECT (D-HI): “I’D LIKE TO GET RID OF THE TAX ON FOOD AND MEDICATION TO LOWER THE COST OF LIVING FOR OUR PEOPLE. I’D LIKE TO PUT INCENTIVES TO DEVELOP NEW INDUSTRIES–LIKE AGRICULTURE.”

LONGWORTH: ANOTHER ONE OF GREEN’S PRIORITIES IS ADDRESSING THE HOMELESSNESS CRISIS.

GREEN: “I’LL BRING PUBLIC OFFICIALS TOGETHER WITH PRIVATE DEVELOPERS AND PHILANTHROPISTS, AND BUILD THOUSANDS OF NEW HOMES FOR HAWAII’S FAMILIES. WITH WILL AND DETERMINATION, WE’LL ALSO DO ANOTHER THING, WE’LL TURN THE THOUSANDS OF ILLEGAL AIRBNBS INTO AFFORDABLE RENTALS SO OUR REGULAR PEOPLE CAN JUST AFFORD TO LIVE IN OUR COMMUNITIES.”

AIRBNBS ARE POPULAR AND LUCRATIVE IN HAWAII, BUT THERE ARE RESTRICTIONS ON THEM IN SOME REGIONS BECAUSE THEY’RE TAKING UP INVENTORY THAT COULD BE LONG-TERM RENTALS FOR RESIDENTS. 

ADDITIONALLY, TO ENCOURAGE MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING, AND FUND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFORTS, GREEN HAS PROPOSED A CONTROVERSIAL VISITOR’S FEE. IT WOULD BE $50 PER PERSON. HE SAYS IT’LL GENERATE UP TO $350 MILLION ANNUALLY FOR THE STATE AND DISCOURAGE SOME PEOPLE FROM VISITING, AS THERE’S CONCERN ABOUT OVERTOURISM.

JOSH GREEN IS JUST ONE NAME YOU NEED TO KNOW.