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Aloha ThinkTech

For those of you who care about citizen journalism and the free flow of ideas here in Hawaii Nei, you probably should know about ThinkTech Hawaii.  For many years it has been providing a platform for people to broadcast about all sorts of issues important to society and government in Hawaii.

My first appearance on one of ThinkTech’s podcasts was on February 24, 2014, on a show hosted by Dr. Keli’i Akina, then and now the president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. At the time his show was called “E Hana Kakou,” roughly translated as “us working together.”  “Hawaii Together” is the current title of that show.

After a one-year break, Dr. Akina had me back on show four times in 2016, and a couple more times in the first quarter of 2017.  At around that time, one of ThinkTech’s founders, Jay Fidell, brought me on his show, “Community Matters,” on May 5, 2017. After a few more episodes on both shows that year and the next, a new show, “Talking Tax,” hosted by Jay Fidell and co-hosted by me, debuted on January 31, 2019, in the thick of that year’s legislative session.

“Talking Tax,” a show focusing on tax and public finance, ran approximately every two weeks since then, a five-year run.  Many of the shows can be viewed on YouTube or Vimeo, and the websites of Tax Foundation of Hawaii, Grassroot Institute, and ThinkTech have links to those shows.  I can’t say that Talking Tax dominated in viewership—some people would rather get a root canal than hear about taxes—but we did make enough impact so that ThinkTech awarded me the Cohost of the Year award for 2023.

Now, it pains me to report, ThinkTech has fallen victim to a phenomenon that has plagued many nonprofits including the Tax Foundation of Hawaii:  a drop in donor funding.  Because of this new reality, ThinkTech has announced that it will produce no more video broadcasts after April 2024.  The last “talking Tax” show on ThinkTech will be taped this month.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to ThinkTech for helping us at the Foundation to get our educational messages out to Hawaii, and beyond, for the ten years that we have been working with them.

We sincerely hope that our programming has had a positive effect on you, the citizens of Hawaii, and has helped you to understand the government that we have here. We also hope that at least some of you have been empowered to give our lawmakers constructive feedback about taxes, public finance, and the laws that they are considering.

After “Talking Tax” stops being produced in May, we at the Foundation have no plans to acquire broadcast facilities. But we will be looking for other ways to get our information out.  And, as we have done for decades, we will still be sending out our Weekly Commentary through email and on the Foundation’s website.

ThinkTech, we are assured, is not dead.  It will continue its YouTube channel and website and will accept and post content on an ad hoc basis on and after May 30.  It has just put the brakes on video production.   We will say aloha to the show “Talking Tax,” and hope that good things will come to ThinkTech and further the ideals it represents.

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