Affordable Housing, Tax Refund Proposed

Carol Anzai
Carol Anzai
Rep. Maile Shimabukuro
Rep. Maile Shimabukuro
Gov. Linda Lingle
Gov. Linda Lingle
Rep. Kirk Caldwell
Rep. Kirk Caldwell

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Residents at Kukui Gardens try not to think about what they'd do if they lost their affordable rental units.

"They couldn't afford to but their units. i know that a lot of them have families, they would have to go to the country to live," said Carol Anzai, Kukui Gardens Tenants Association.

To encourage construction of more affordable housing, House Democrats propose giving developers a three year exemption from permits and environmental laws.

"They can create unconventional housing, anything from a normal apartment to a trailer park to a tent city on that land," said. Rep. Maile Shimabukuro, House housing chariman.

Saying she wants to help low income families, Gov. Linda Lingle called for tax refunds.

Lingle's plan includes a $100 refund per person for families with household incomes up to $100,000. She also wants $25 refunds per person for families making more than $100,000.

"That is the most direct and immediate way that people in government can help families that are struggling to meet their daily living expenses," Lingle said.

Some Democrats said they can't settle on a refund amount yet. They said the governor's financial plan does not cover all of the state's expenses.

"In her budget she has cut the electricity budget for the department of education by half," said House Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell. "Our concern is how are we gong to pay for electricity for our children."