The Five Pillars

Significant change requires integrated, collaborative effort. It grows from a gathering of experts willing to share their knowledge and experience with a leader who then creates a plan for action.  As State House Finance Chairwoman, Sylvia undertook an effort to devise a framework for change in five key pillars, relying on input from experts throughout the state and support from colleagues in the House and Senate. 

Affordable Housing

Our statewide median housing price is over $900,000 – unattainable for many of our kama’āina.  Hawai`i has one of the lowest percentages of homeownership in all the nation.  This must change.  We need more affordable housing – for working families and young residents looking to secure a home and their future here in the islands. Sylvia supported millions of dollars of state investment into more affordable housing. And she is committed to seeing more production of affordable inventory.

Act 227 (HB 79, 2021)

Increasing Supply

 

Creatively uses funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to enable non-profit institutions here at home to develop more affordable housing supply for buyers.

 

Educational Equity

Hawai’iʻs unique statewide educational system was intended to make sure that all of our keiki, regardless of background or affluence, have equal access to K-12 education. Creating true educational equity requires a much broader systemic approach, including universal access to preschool, teacher retention initiatives, and college scholarship support.  Sylvia has a strong record pushing for these initiatives and as Lieutenant Governor will fight for more educational access and support.

Act 46 (HB2543, 2020) 
Universal pre-school

 

Supports the expansion of preschool opportunities and establishes a preschool enrollment goal of 100 percent by 2032. It also appropriated funds to build classrooms for Hawaiian language immersion pre-school programs.

 

Technological Equity

The pandemic highlighted the importance of remote communication.  We need it to stay connected - for work, for our children’s education, for telehealth doctor visits, for staying in touch with family.  But, rural and remote areas are less served. There are limited options to choose from with virtually no competition.  We must boost availability of broadband access as this service will only become more critical and integrated into our daily lives.

Act 225 (HB1191, 2021)
Statewide broadband access


Allows Hawai’i to establish carrier-neutral landing sites throughout the state for broadband access, allowing any internet provider to rent space from a hub without having to build their own infrastructure. This will increase the supply of providers for consumers and connect residents in more rural areas with IT services that greatly enhance their lives. For example, residents in less populated communities will be able to work remotely and skip the long commute into the office or access telehealth services for ailments that do not require an outpatient visit to the nearest hospital.

 

Sustainability

Hawai`i is one of the most beautiful places on earth – but we must never stop protecting and preserving our natural resources.  The issues of climate change are upon us, and the state must be prepared to face rising sea levels, must build a more resilient economy and plan for our people’s food security.  Consolidating responding agencies and establishing a management and fee structure for natural resource protection are important foundational steps.

Act 45, (HB2486, 2020)
Office of Planning and Sustainable Development

Combines three separate agencies to create a single office dedicated to understanding and preparing for the coming storms. This provides a structure for strategic preparation and aligned management of resources to meet anticipated challenges.

 

Cost of Living

Hawai`i is one of the most expensive places to live – and it’s only getting harder with rising inflation.  Sylvia was known as a budget hawk - watching how our tax dollars got spent, and avoiding any broad-based tax increases.  She’s advocated for increasing the minimum wage and reducing government’s burden on working families and those living paycheck to paycheck. She will continue to fight for those across our state who are struggling to make ends meet because she understands the obstacles these families and individuals in our communities face.

Act 114, (HB25010, 2022)

Increase Minimum Wage, Permanent Tax Credits

Makes the state earned income tax credit refundable and permanent. Provides for carryforward of nonrefundable credits previously claimed. Incrementally increases the minimum wage and tip credit beginning on 10/1/2022. (CD1)