When the Department of the Interior explored the possibility of helping establish a Native Hawaiian “tribe” last year, Grassroot Institute submitted comments about the problematic nature of their plan. We were joined in opposition with a substantial number of Native Hawaiians who had grave concerns about the federal government’s involvement in Native Hawaiian affairs. A year has passed, and the DOI has returned with a proposed rule that would create a path to recognition for a Native Hawaiian government. As Grassroot President Keli’i Akina explains in this interview with Hawaii Public Radio, the concerns over the Department’s proposal remain. Click here to read the transcript.
The American Shipper Magazine posted Tuesday, October 6, 2015, an article “NTSB begins investigation into EL FARO disappearance” which delves into the question as to whether or not the domestic ship build requirement of the Jones Act led to the loss of the EL FARO. The domestic ship build requirement when coupled to the extraordinarily high cost of large ship construction in the U.S. (as compared to building comparable ships in Japan and South Korea) leads shipowners to keep their Jones Act ships in service far beyond what would be considered their useful life in international trade. Key excerpts: As the U.S. Coast Guard continues to search for survivors, experts say the now-likely loss off the TOTE Maritime cargo ship could be the worst disaster involving a U.S. flag vessel in decades. A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) team is scheduled to arrive in Jacksonville, Fla. Tuesday to begin its […]
SHANGHAI, CHINA—Shanghai, China’s financial capital, enjoys a double skyline. The city proper, or “old city,” sports a fascinating mix of colonial buildings and modern architecture. The “New Area” of Pudong hosts Shanghai’s four tallest structures, on the east bank of the Huangpu River. In contrast, when I first visited Shanghai a couple decades ago there were few buildings, commercial or residential, racing skyward. Pudong was mostly empty, with more brush and trash blowing down the streets than buildings with people working in them. But there is another China. More distant towns offer a vision into the past—more traditional, less advanced, more isolated. Shift to the nearby countryside and incomes drop substantially, averaging less than $2000 per capita. My traveling group stopped by the remains of an ancient fortress and the Great Wall, which required walking along dirt roads lined by homes constructed with bricks taken from the ruins. The primitive […]
In what is now a seemingly-endless election cycle, it feels like we are constantly hearing politicians promise to enact tax reform. Actual change for the better, however, seems to be slow in coming–a fact that is echoed in the United States’ low ranking in international tax competitiveness. The Tax Foundation has released its International Tax Competitiveness Index, and once again, the United States has the third worst score among OECD nations. The US came in 32nd out of 34 countries, topping only Italy and France (France!) in its overall score. First place this year went to Estonia, which has a unique system wherein the 20% corporate income tax rate only applies to distributed profits, its flat rate individual income tax doesn’t apply to dividend income, the property tax applies to the value of land (rather than capital or real property value), and its territorial tax system exempts 100% of the […]
This year, the IRS has added a new item to its “Dirty Dozen,” a list of tax scams that the agency is on the watch for. The item is “Captive Insurance,” a topic that is near and dear to Hawaii. Businesses can protect themselves against risks by buying insurance. Usually they buy it from big insurance companies that have financial strength. But even smaller insurance companies can become effective if they themselves buy insurance from a “reinsurer,” a company that sells insurance only to insurance companies. A business that is good-sized and has a fair amount of risks might consider forming an insurance company of its own. That insurance company would then write insurance to the business and its affiliates, and go to the reinsurance market rather than buying insurance at retail. That is a “captive insurer.” Some states, including Hawaii, have passed special laws facilitating development of captive insurance […]