Hawaii governor to extend eviction moratorium by 2 months

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s statewide moratorium on residential evictions is expected to be extended for another two months in a coronavirus emergency proclamation that the state’s governor plans to issue.

Democratic Gov. David Ige also said federal stimulus funds will extend rental assistance to include utility financial aid that could help renters for up to a year.

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There are no plans to provide rent relief for commercial properties, a situation Ige said was challenging. There is difficulty in trying establish moratoriums on evictions by owners of commercial properties “without unfairly advantaging one side,” he said Tuesday.

Instead, Ige said he supports ongoing efforts to provide direct financial help to small businesses.

The state Council on Revenues forecast an additional $300 million increase in revenue this year and is projecting an additional $2 billion over the next seven years, leading to a significant impact on the state’s financial planning, Ige said.

Economic recovery from the pandemic is being driven by Hawaii’s Safe Travels virus testing program for visitors and returning residents.

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The program is “helping to reopen hotels and helping to reopen restaurants and small businesses that depend on travelers, in particular,” Ige said.

An improved economy means previously announced 10% budget reductions across the state will fall to 2.5% for the state Department of Education, restoring $123 million to classrooms, Ige said.

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