New Construction Funds Released For Area Schools

Sen. Mike Gabbard

Sen. Mike Gabbard

Aloha Friends,

The 2012 Legislative Session wraps up May 3.

Please join me at my next “Listen Story” meeting at the Kunia Starbucks (Kunia Shopping Center) from 9 to 10 a.m. May 5, when I’ll provide a legislative wrap-up.

You can reach me at 586-6830 or

Here are a few things I’d like to share with you.

Governor Releases Construction Funding for District 19 Schools

Great news! Governor Abercrombie released $7.48 million in construction funding March 7 for schools across the state. Here’s a breakdown of how those funds were allocated, which includes District 19 schools:

* $2 million for energy improvements (upgrades to AC systems and installation of data loggers and sub meters so that schools may track and manage their electrical use at a more detailed level) at Waikele Elementary, Kapolei Middle and Kapolei High

*$1 million for special education portable classrooms at Makakilo Elementary

* $1 million for planning for new East Kapolei High School

* $500,000 for playground equipment and accessibility improvements at Waikele Elementary and Kaleiopuu Elementary

Making Changes to the Solar Tax Credit

Making changes to the solar tax credit has been a hot topic at the Capitol this session.

As it came over from the House, HB 2417 would have only allowed folks to take one solar tax credit per tax map key (TMK) instead of one per system, as is presently allowed.

This would have had a very negative impact on the solar industry, which accounted for 15 percent of construction in state in 2011.

I was getting an earful from the solar industry, so we drafted a Senate version of the bill based on their input. I’m a distributed-energy guy, so where I’m coming from is that we’ve got to make solar as affordable as possible for homes and businesses.

As it stands, there’s a lot of confusion about the Department of Taxation’s guidance on the solar tax credit. We’ve been hearing talk about gaming the system because people are getting multiple tax credits.

What we’re looking at doing with the Senate version of HB 2417 is to get rid of the caps all together, since people are getting multiple tax credits already.

We’re also looking at stepping down the tax credit percentage to hit 20 percent in 2015.

This would lessen the impact on the state’s finances without doing damage to the solar industry and people’s ability to afford photovoltaic systems.

Revenge of the Electric Car Movie House Party

I’ll be hosting a house party, co-sponsored by the Sierra Club, to show the movie Revenge of the Electric Car at the Kapolei High Teachers’ Lounge (next to the cafeteria) from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. April 17.

The free movie focuses on exciting developments in the production of electric vehicles.

Here’s the trailer if you’d like to check it out: kRIu5a6Sb0&feature=play er_embedded.

As many of you may know, I’ve owned an all-electric Nissan Leaf for almost a year.

Please call my office to RSVP if you plan to attend. Seating is limited.