Editor’s Note: Wise Planning Is Needed In Good Times and Bad

February, 2004

It looks as though 2004 is shaping up to be a very good year. It has been our privilege (with some years more pleasurable than others, depending on the economic outlook) to publish the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) report, twice a year for the past several years.

In this month’s “Hawaii Outlook,” UHERO researchers Carl Bonham and Byron Gangnes forecast that total visitor arrivals will grow by 8.7 percent this year, with Japanese arrivals rebounding quite a bit, with 24 percent growth. Real personal income is forecast to grow by 2.4 percent. Construction is one of the main drivers of this growth with about $3.5 billion in military construction and renovation starting to kick in this year.

Amid all this growing optimism is increasing concern related to stewardship of our island state’s precious resource, our aina. Recent land-use rulings have led to widespread reexamination of land-use policy and the role of the state Land Use Commission, in particular. As Jacy L. Youn notes in our cover story, “Breaking New Ground,” everyone except the Sierra Club is crying out for change and they want legislators to address the problem now.

Who will finance all those new home mortgages if more housing developments are eventually allowed? The answer may surprise you. Did you know that Hawaii has the fifth-highest rate of credit unions per capita, and that home loans are one of their main products? Business has been booming, as David K. Choo writes in “Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due.” Seems the old tanomoshi concept is still a good thing. n

CORRECTION: In the January 2004 issue, Albert C. Kobayashi Inc. was omitted from the list of Hawaii’s Top Contractors. The company would have ranked No. 3 with 2002 gross sales of $151.6 million. Also, photographer Kent S. Hwang should have received credit for the photo of Aaron Au and Kirk Belsby in the story, “Venture Without Capital.” Hawaii Business regrets these errors.

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Kelli Abe-Trifonovich