Ryan Finnerty

Government and Public Policy Reporter

Ryan Finnerty is Hawaiʻi Public Radio's award-winning Government and Public Policy reporter focusing on state and county politics, business, economics, the military, science, and the environment. Before that he was a producer and reporter on HPR's local public affairs talk show The Conversation. His work has been featured nationwide on NPR programs Morning Edition,  All Things Considered, and Here and Now, American Public Media's Marketplace and C-SPAN Radio's View from the States project. Before coming to Hawaiʻi Public Radio, Ryan was an officer in the U.S. Army stationed at Schofield Barracks on Oʻahu. He graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in economics.   

Hawaii Tourism Authority/Hawaii Department of Health

Data from the Hawaii Department of Health show that most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the islands are local residents. But some legislators are calling for increased quarantine restrictions on visitors.

15TH WING / PACIFIC AIR FORCES

Five governors have now joined a coalition of Western U.S. states developing common standards for reopening their economies. Hawaii’s executive remains reluctant.

Hawaii Public Radio

Updated: 4/24/2020, 8:18 a.m.

President Trump today signed off on another $320 billion in loans approved by lawmakers to help businesses cover payroll and other expenses. Hawaii firms secured $2.46 billion from the first round of funding, but not without difficulty.

Eugene Kim / Flickr

With hotels, restaurants, and farmers largely shuttered, demand for fresh, local produce has plummetted. The loss of revenue puts future harvests at risk.

frankieleon / Flickr

Eligible residents in Hawaii, and around the country, are starting to receive cash stimulus payments from the federal government. But the one-time $1,200 checks won’t go far in Hawaii.

Public Domain Photos

Air travel is down by as much as 96 percent and airlines have responded by drastically cutting the number of flights they operate. That is impacting the price of global shipping.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Experts in academia and healthcare have unveiled separate plans for safely reopening Hawaii’s economy. Both frameworks rely heavily on testing, but the state health director says that isn’t where the focus should be.

Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines

It’s unclear when conditions will allow the resumption of normal economic activity. Two Hawaii experts have outlined a plan for how that might be achieved, even before a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed.

Ryan Finnerty

Just under half of all households nationwide have responded to the decadal survey of the U.S. population. Fewer than 40% of Hawaii residences have answered.

Ryan Finnerty

Restaurants employ 13% of Hawaii workers. Many of those businesses face an existential threat from the coronavirus pandemic, but some are already finding success in the new reality.

Hawaii Tourism Authority

With economists predicting short-term unemployment rates as high as 25 percent, the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic will dwarf the Great Recession.

Screenshot from Maui County Council Live Stream

Civic participation is a challenge during the time of coronavirus. Some agencies are finding ways to still include the public, despite Gov. David Ige's emergency order suspending the requirement among other state laws.

Catherine Cruz/HPR

Updated: 3/31/20, 10:42 a.m.

It’s been less than a week since a statewide stay-at-home order largely shut down Hawaii’s economy in an effort to contain the coronavirus. The latest economic projections indicate restarting activity will take much longer.

Ryan Finnerty

Updated: 3/27/20, 4:50 p.m.

More than 97,000 new unemployment claims have been filed in Hawaii since March 1st. Workers in the restaurant and hotel industries have been some of the hardest hit.

Wikimedia Commons

Help is on the way says Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz. The words came as the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a $2 trillion aid package designed to save the American economy from collapse.

Ryan Finnerty

As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe, Americans returning to the U.S. were entering the country without any health screening.

NeedPix

Manufacturers say their supply chains haven’t been interrupted. Shippers say cargo volume is normal. So why are many Hawaii stores out of toilet paper?

Wikipedia

The first meeting of a state House advisory committee looking at a possible downturn in the Hawaii economy in the wake of the coronavirus heard what many suspected: the impact is here and it's worse than projected.

“The uncertainty is just enormous as to how long the spread continues,” said Carl Bonham, executive director of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.

Ryan Finnerty

Tax revenue coming into Hawaii state coffers is now expected to be $48 million to $80 million less than previous estimates for the rest of 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Anthony Quintano / Civil Beat

Voters on Oahu will elect a new mayor in 2020. HPR will be sitting down with mayoral hopefuls to discuss their top concerns and why they want the job.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Both chambers of the state Legislature have passed some form of a prohibition on the governor and county mayors earning income from employment other than their elected office.

Simon_sees / Flickr

The idea of a carbon tax has broad support from economists and a version was already approved by the state Senate. If agreed to by the House and Gov. David Ige, it would become the first measure of its kind in the U.S.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

How long it takes to get the coronavirus to run its course will make the difference between a short-term hiccup and serious economic woes, says a University of Hawaii economist.

boaski / Flickr

There are still no reported cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Hawaii. But a spate of canceled events and falling visitor numbers from abroad indicate the virus is creating economic headwinds. 

Honolulu Rapid Transit Facebook Page / HART

The Honolulu transit fare review body wants to raise the price of a bus ride by 25 cents to $3, but provide free transfers between the rail and bus.

Ryan Finnerty/HPR

The City and County of Honolulu signed an agreement with Hitachi worth $918 million over 13 years to operate the long-delayed rail transit system.

Japan Olympics and Global Economy; Electric Vehicle Bills; Hawaii Keeps Fluoride Out Of Drinking Water; Taxes - And Who's Paying Them; Sex Trafficking And Homelessness

Flickr Commons / Joe Parks
Flickr Commons / Joe Parks

The latest data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority shows the number of short-term vacation rentals on Oahu continued to decline, while Maui and Kauai saw substantial increases.

Delta News Hub / Flickr

Roughly 99 million Americans still do not have identification in compliance with a federal law set to take effect in October. More than half of Hawaii licenses and IDs are compliant, but for those on Oahu who haven't gotten the approved identifications, the wait for an appointment now stretches to about six weeks.

Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz says the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak has fallen far short and he is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Japan embassy to see if that country can provide coronavirus test kits to Hawaii. 

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