Council making right decisions for Maui
An opinion piece April 23 got the title right and everything else wrong. Affordable housing is in the hands of Maui County Council but not in the way the writer described.
She refers to the “unbreakable” rule of supply and demand without acknowledging that while the supply of housing on Maui has a limit, the demand is virtually unlimited.
Billions of Americans have the right to purchase property and move here, and there are a few barriers to foreign nationals buying property. Property taxes are lower than inflation and demand continuous, making Maui very attractive to investors.
The council needs to use every tool available to increase supply and decrease demand from investors. Increased taxes on empty homes, increased enforcement of illegal TVRs, increased building density (that doesn’t appeal to mainlander’s tastes), improved renters’ rights and rent control, increased charges on developers building luxury and resort properties and increased adherence to local community plans are all necessary and within the council’s abilities.
We, the community, need to affirm that our homes and neighborhoods are for living in, not some get-rich-quick scheme, and accept a slightly lower and longer ROI in exchange for a better chance at homeownership.
We need to let all branches of county government know that they work for the community, not industry nor corporate think tanks like the “Gaslight Institute.”
Affordable housing is in the hands of the council. Lucky us, because they are making the right and difficult decisions for a better Maui.