October 25, 2023 |

Members of the state House Finance Committee plan to visit Maui’s Soil &Water Conservation District today and Lahaina’s Mala Wharf on Thursday.

The visits are part of a review of projects on the neighbor islands that already have been funded or might need funding during the upcoming legislative session.

Gov. Josh Green has said his legislative package will include many requests for Maui following the devastating Aug. 8 wildfires that killed 99 people and all but obliterated Lahaina.

U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda on Tuesday introduced the Maui Strong Act, to support Maui small businesses and nonprofits.

The bill would provide $20,000 grants to nonprofits, independent contractors and small businesses with 25 or fewer employees that lost revenue resulting from the wildfires.

It would establish the Emergency Micro-enterprise Recovery Grant Pilot Program to award tax-free grants.

“Nonprofits and small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities,” Tokuda said in a statement. “As Maui begins to rebuild and focus on long-term recovery, I’ve heard from residents, micro-business owners, and nonprofit organizations who are facing an uncertain future and feel frustrated that not enough is being done to be responsive to their needs. Lahaina was home to as many as a thousand businesses, many that were small and considered a micro-business with nine employees or less. They provided a range of goods and services for kama‘aina and visitors alike. We must do everything possible to support those who are struggling due to the fires. My MAUI STRONG Act would provide direct relief for the small businesses and nonprofit organizations that support our local ohana and communities.”

Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, said in a statement:

“Mahalo to Congresswoman Tokuda for introducing the Maui Strong Act. Maui’s business community has suffered extensive financial and personal losses from the August wildfires and to date, federal loans have been the only form of relief. This bill is a critical first step to provide non-repayable financial support to boost Maui’s economic recovery.”

U.S. Rep. Ed Case co-­sponsored the bill.

It follows Tokuda’s introduction of the Natural Disaster Tax Relief Act, which would ease the tax burden on people hurt by major disasters in 2023.

Maui County announced Tuesday that more Lahaina residential zones will be accessible, beginning from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

The new zones are 4-A (Front, Hoapili, Huea, Kapunakea and Keao sStreet and Olona Place), 4-B (Aina­kea Road and Hamau, Hiki, Komohana and Malolo places) and 4-C (Akeke and Nahale places, and Kahoma and Kapunakea streets.

Two vehicle passes will be available per property owner and two vehicle passes per rental unit. Residents must show proof of residency in the zones, such as a utility bill, rental agreement or driver’s license.

Vehicle passes will be available today and Thursday at the Lahaina Civic Center and the County of Maui Kalana o Maui building lobby.

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