State Approves Budget For Royal Kunia School

State Sen. Mike Gabbard

By State Sen. Mike Gabbard

Aloha Friends,

I hope you’re enjoying the summer. I’ve been hearing from friends and family on the Mainland who have been suffering through unbearable heat. Lucky we live Hawaii and have the nice trades even during the summer. Here are a few things I’d like to share with you.

Royal Kunia Elementary School Finally Moving Forward

One of the highlights of this past session was finally getting the long-awaited Royal Kunia Elementary School into the state budget.

Many Kunia residents have contacted me over the years in frustration about the overcrowded conditions at Kalei’opu’u Elementary School.

I’ve done my best to get the new school moved up on the state Department of Education’s priority list. We have appropriated $150,000 to start the planning for the new school. This will be one of the more creative school projects, in that a private developer, Kobayashi Group, will design and build the school and sell it back to the state.

The idea is to get it built as quickly as possible. We still don’t have a definitive date, but we’re told that it takes roughly six years to complete a school once the planning money has been expended.

Commitment to Solar Continues to be Important

You might have seen some of the latest news about how the state Council on Revenues reported that state tax revenues were down a bit this past quarter. Surprisingly, the COR focused on the solar tax credit as being one of the main causes for the decrease in revenues.

They claim that the state lost $70 million in revenue in 2011 because of the money invested in the solar tax credit.

What the COR failed to mention is the importance that the solar industry now has to our economy. In 2011, for example, solar accounted for 15 percent of the construction in the state. This is coupled with a recent study commissioned by Blue Planet Foundation and conducted by University of Hawaii economist Thomas Loudat, who found that for every solar tax credit dollar invested, $13.37 stays in Hawaii and generates $44.70 in additional sales, which means $3.17 in new tax revenue.

Solar remains a very important way for homes and businesses to reduce their electricity costs and our dependence on fossil fuels. Opponents of the solar tax credit fail to mention that nationally from 2002 to 2008 our federal government subsidized the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $72.47 billion a year compared to $5.61 billion in subsidies for the solar industry.

How are we going to ever make any real progress if we keep our head in the sand and don’t face the reality that “big oil” continues to have a strangle hold on us here in Hawaii and across our nation?

“Listen Story” Meeting

My next “Listen Story” meeting will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday at the Kamokila Community Park Meeting Room in Honokai Hale.

Please contact me if I can help you in any way. You can reach me by phone at 586-6830 or by email at