Hawaii’s House and Senate are considering several bills aimed at improving the quality of life and economic status of more than half of Hawaii’s population. A study sponsored by Aloha United Way reported that a family of four in Hawaii needs a combined annual income of $77,000 just to survive. As discussed in one of Tom Barefoot’s Tours’ videos, at least half of Hawaii’s families do not have enough income to pay for rising food, housing, health care, and childcare costs. The governor noted that about 20,000 children statewide don’t attend preschool programs. Ige said that he wants every three- and four-year old in Hawaii to have the opportunity to attend a childcare or preschool program by the end of the decade.
On the subject of affordable housing, Gov. Ige discussed a proposal to build 17,000 leasehold homes on state-owned land in West Oahu in partnership with private developers. Making this happen would require a state investment of $200 million in roads and infrastructure. The proposed plan also includes the state spending $75 million on affordable housing on Hawaiian islands other than Oahu.
Sustainability of Hawaii’s environment was a focus of Ige’s address. Speaking about the dangers of climate change, the governor envisioned a goal of 100% clean energy usage by 2045. Today Hawaii is leading the nation in the use of solar power. Both commercial projects and homeowners have been increasing their use of solar energy. As a result, the state has met its 2020 energy goal of 30% of energy needs fulfilled by renewable sources. Part of the state’s pivot to clean and renewable energy has been the transformation of its agricultural industry from large-scale farming to more diversified farms.