J.Kalani English
printable version

Maui economy needs paychecks

The Maui News
Sunday, November 7, 2008

The latest national indication that the economy is flirting with a depression is the loss of jobs - 10.3 million have lost paychecks. Hundreds of jobs have disappeared in Maui County this year. Cash flow makes an economy and payroll checks make Maui's economy flow.

The last time Maui suffered through this sort of economic downturn was in the months following Sept. 11, 2001. The state reacted by pushing ahead pending construction projects.

Sen. J. Kalani English was successful in creating an environmental work force that provided a paycheck for some 50 Mauians. The county provided cash for rental and utility assistance to those out of work.

The environmental work force was funded with state money and administered by an agency at the University of Hawaii, but the county could do the same today. The county cash-assistance program was administered by Maui Economic Opportunity Inc.

Today, the most effective way to create paychecks is to fund programs and projects conducted by outside businesses and agencies. In addition to expediting already funded construction and maintenance, the county could use some of its $13 million emergency fund to finance outside projects and assistance as was done in late 2001 and early 2002.

The 9/11-created economic turndown was reversed within a few months when tourists began returning to the islands. A solution to the problem this time may take longer, but there are ways state and county governments can assist. The need will only grow if elected officials don't act with uncharacteristic speed.

Original article URL: http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/512138.html

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