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January 1985

February 1985

January General Meeting
President's Message (Dorothy Lum)
Report on Voter Services (Nan Luter)
Federal Tax Policy - The LWV Fiscal Policy Study
1985 Agenda for Superpower No. 1? (Dottie Gullicksen)
1985-86 Program Planning
What If There Was an Election and Nobody Ran?
Honolulu League Testifies at City Council (Astrid Monson)
Welcome to New Members
Calendar - Meetings/Events: 1985

Honolulu League Testifies at City Council

Says Purpose of Bill 85 Not Being Followed

President Dee Lum testified at a City Council public hearing on December 5 on Bill 85, designed to permit the issuance of tax-exempt revenue bonds to build rental housing for low and moderate-income families.

Supporting the purpose of the bill, Dee, however, opposed the use of some $40 million of such bonds to finance a second downtown Honolulu Tower, whose developers plan to build studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units (400-800 sq. ft.) for rental to downtown young professional workers -- "stockbrokers, attorneys, architects, executive secretaries, etc., earning good salaries", at rentals from $400 to $800 a month.

"We feel", Dee testified, "that such housing and these kinds of renters are not the appropriate beneficiaries of the tax subsidies involved, which we estimate roughly at $300 to $500 per month per unit. A high-rise steel and concrete structure is expensive. and this type of construction and the location are not suitable to meet the needs of low-mod families with children, of which there are thousands in need of rental housing."

Federal rules require that only 20% of the units built with such bonds be available to Iow-mod families, estimated by the developers to have incomes to $30,000. In ten years the building can be converted to a market condominium, taking it out of the rental market entirely

League suggested that the bill include such conditions as:

  1. proceeds from bonds to be used only for the low-mod units.

  2. Half the units to be for families with incomes below 80% of the median for each respective family size.

  3. Use of such financing limited to inexpensive low-rise construction providing family-sized units of two, three and four bedrooms,

  4. Units to remain in low-mod rental market for 30 years unless City permits conversion to condominium owner-ship, in which case tenants get first refusal to buy at 120 times the monthly rent.

Developer Pankow's Honolulu Tower II is the only project being considered for approval under Bill 85 to date.

Astrid Monson

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