BY JOE UNO — Simple, basic fiscal responsibility. Our City is faced with a $7 BILLION dollar Consent Decree to fix our sewer systems and to provide secondary treatment to the effluent that we dump into the ocean that surrounds us. There is no getting around that, it is a bill that we are now forced to pay and cannot escape.
This, in addition to the cost of the $6 BILLION dollar rail project, in my humble opinion, will result in a tremendous debt burden to EACH AND EVERYONE of us in the City & County of Honolulu.
What will be the fallout of such high debt? First, our property taxes will rise to meet the obligations. This affects homeowners, landlords and renters. It also will affect all commercial tenants as well making it even more expensive to do business in Honolulu.
Secondly, our bond ratings will fall. Similar to an individual’s credit rating, this will affect our ability to borrow money and rate at which we will pay.
Thirdly, City services, currently stretched to the point of reduced services through furloughs, will contract even more. The Department of Planning & Permitting, dear to all of us in the construction industry, will most likely see layoffs, furloughs and closures. Other City services such as Parks & Recreation and Road Maintenance will be curtailed as well. Forget implementing any “Quality of Life” services or innovations, we just won’t be able to afford it. More homeless with the City unable to provide solutions. Fewer City projects getting built.
Fewer City services will also impact the way our City looks and presents itself to the world. A beautiful City yes, but with bad breath, tattered clothes and in need of a bath. Our tourists will see the decline and go to other locales.
The other candidates toot the horn of “change agents”, but they are sadly just more of the same. More of the “head-in-the-sand”, “money-will-fall-from-the-skies” mentality. What have we learned from the lessons of 2008 when the easy money bankers took this country to the brink of bankruptcy? Haven’t we learned from the days of easy money? Haven’t we learned that we must mortgage only what we can afford and that principle applies to Government as well?
If you were one of the 140,000 Oahu residents who voted against the rail in 2008, please go to the polls and vote for Panos Prevedouros, the only candidate who has a clear vision for Oahu. If the pro-rail voters split their vote among the other three candidates, Panos will win and fiscal responsibility will be returned to Honolulu Hale.
Joe Uno is the owner of J. Uno & Associates, Inc, Construction Cost Consultants.