LIHUE — It is unacceptable to approve large raises for $100,000 county positions while also looking to create a regressive General Excise Tax that would hurt already struggling families, said KipuKai Kuali‘i, a candidate for the Kauai County Council.
“I am running for the Kauai County Council position to keep fighting for our people, and for our islands,” Kuali‘i said. “I love being able to make a difference. This position is truly a dream job for a native son raised in a sugar plantation family amongst many diverse cultures who spent more than 10 years away working in government, and on social and economic justice.”
Kuali‘i said solving the extreme budget challenge of a $100 million backlog of road repairs by raising taxes without first attaining optimal government efficiency through better, tougher budgeting must not happen.
“I’m doing everything I can to prevent that,” Kuali‘i said. “To that end, I’m currently drafting a charter amendment that would allow the voters to support the creation of a ‘county road resurfacing/reconstruction backlog fund,’ allocating a percentage of current real property taxes and Transient Accommodation Taxes, thereby deterring any taxes such as a General Excise Tax, or any significant increases in fuel, vehicle weight or any other taxes for this purpose.”
Kuali‘i said if re-elected, he plans on continuing his push for government efficiency through fiscally responsible budgeting and holding the mayor, council and administration accountable.
“I will continue to be unafraid to ask the tough questions, and will continue to carefully analyze all expenditures,” he said. “I will continue to look closely at all vacant positions and call for downsizing wherever possible. I’m happy to see the administration has created a Vacancy Review Committee, possibly because of my efforts. That is helping us move in that direction, though still far too slowly.”
Some of the other areas Kuali‘i is looking at include addressing the protection of open spaces; access to natural resources to support agricultural and sustenance lifestyles, including hunting, gathering and fishing; and supporting and incentivizing more land and water use for more locally grown foods.
Kuali‘i said he supports economic development initiatives such as ag parks, agri-tourism, enterprise zones, the Kaua‘i Creative Technology Center, Kaua‘i Grown, Kaua‘i Made, Revitalize Rice Street, and more.
He supports Kauai’s kupuna by helping provide critical and essential eldercare services and connecting them with more home- and community-based, independent living programs.
Support for keiki include keeping the island’s parks and sports facilities in great shape, supporting the island’s youth programs, and supporting the adolescent treatment and healing center.
“My current service demonstrates that I bring a unique perspective, the right temperament, and a thoughtful decision-making approach to the job,” Kuali‘i said.