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Monday, September 15, 2014
September 15, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:43 PM :: 4225 Views

Hawaii 2nd Most Unfair Tax System in USA

Federal Court Upholds the Free Market on Kauai

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted September 15, 2014

Senate Candidate Lethem Slams Kaka’ako Parking Scam

Hawaii Among Final Four in Obama Library Competition

Aiona is Only Candidate Supporting Private Preschool

CB: Come November, voters will decide whether to change Hawaii’s constitution and allow the state to spend public money on private preschool programs.

The amendment is key to establishing an early education system in Hawaii, say supporters, including Republican gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona.

They believe it could expand access to preschool for thousands of 4-year-olds who miss out because their families can’t afford it. Hawaii is currently the only state that constitutionally prohibits public funding of private preschools.

But the Hawaii State Teachers Association and other critics question the prospect of doling out taxpayer money to private providers, including those with religious affiliations. Opponents include Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Ige, who believes the proposal is ill-conceived and could lead to wasteful spending.

Mufi Hannemann, the Hawaii Independent Party candidate for governor, supports the concept but questions its feasibility, and says he needs more clarity as to how a public-private system could be implemented....

A Good Beginnings Alliance-funded poll conducted by QMark Research among 400 registered voters in 2013 found that 82 percent of them support free or subsidized preschool. But the same survey also found that, after hearing arguments on both sides of the issue, 52 percent of participants said they support amending the constitution, while 43 percent of them said they opposed the change.

A joint Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now poll conducted in February found that 62 percent of voters supported the amendment while 33 percent opposed it.

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as Question No. 4, thanks to a bill passed by lawmakers last year.

Question No. 4 asks:

“Shall the appropriation of public funds be permitted for the support or benefit of private early childhood education programs, as provided by law, to help the State meet its goal of providing an early learning system for the children of Hawaii?”

A review of public testimony — as well as lawmakers’ voting records — suggests that the legislation that enabled the ballot initiative was popular. The vast majority of testimony supported the measure. Just 18 of the state’s 76 legislators voted against the bill — including seven of the eight Republicans. 

Related: Without Abercrombie, Education Reform a Political Orphan

read ... Aiona or nothing

RTTT Pt 2? -- Hawaii  Grabs for Federal Preschool Development Grant

EW: A majority of states—thirty-one plus Puerto Rico—are interested in the U.S. Department of Education's new Preschool Development Grant program, which is aimed at helping states beef up and expand their early childhood offerings. States had until late last week to submit an "intent to apply" with the department.

The "intent to apply" notices aren't a prerequisite for an application—which are officially due October 14—but they give the administration some sense of who is interested and who isn't.

The upshot? States and districts may be somewhat weary of competitive grants, but the early childhood education money seems to be garnering a lot of interest.

Nine states—Hawaii, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Utah—plus, Puerto Rico, raised their hand for a slice of the $80 million in"development" grants, which are intended for states who are just getting started when it comes to early childhood. Overall, 15 states plus Puerto Rico are considered eligible for that category.

read ... Preschool Development

Activists Demand Homeless be Kept on Display

CB: “I think this is tailored for selective enforcement,” said Dame. “It’s meant to satisfy that need of the business community to get the eyesore poor off the streets of Waikiki. I think we have to ask why they’re so ashamed of having poor people there.”

“On top of that, I think that a lot of folks look at these as solutions – as a way of actually getting people out of sight, out of mind,” added Grube. “You talk to homeless experts and you read the studies and it doesn’t matter.”

read ... To be used as Conversation Pieces

The left’s homeless pingpong

TB:  All genuinely compassionate people know any governmental solution to the issue of poverty would focus on making it easier for businesses to prosper, which leads to higher, gainful employment. But no, that's not the sort of Hawaiian "hope and change" liberals apparently have in mind for anyone.

Instead, Oahu's politicians have opted for the preferred liberal approach to the visual confirmation of their failed policies: Hide it. In a gulch. On an island.

World Socialists: Honolulu city officials vote to transfer homeless to former WWII internment camp

read ... Tammy Bruce

Obama's Inequality Society Hurts GE Tax Revenues

AP: A new report on the nation's growing income gap finds that stagnant wages for most Americans have dampened consumer spending, and that's bad for states like Hawaii that depend heavily on sales taxes to keep their governments running.

Roughly 70 percent of economic activity comes from consumer spending. But Americans have become increasingly reluctant to open their wallets as median incomes have barely increased over three decades and remain lower than they were in 2007 when the Great Recession began.

By contrast, the top 1 percent of earners have prospered. Adjusted for inflation, their average income has nearly tripled to $1.26 million since 1979, according to the IRS.

In Hawaii, the top 5 percent of workers earned an average of $300,194 in 2012, while the bottom 20 percent earned an average of $14,549 and the next 20 percent earned $40,741, according to Census data....

"Because that is a broad-based tax, I think it's less subject to the income inequality issue, because everyone pays the GET based on their consumption levels," said Kalbert Young, state finance director.

A quarter of the state's revenues come from income taxes, he said.

"If you have tax policies that have higher tax rates for the higher income earners, verses lower income earners, that would be one way to mitigate that phenomenon," Young said.

Hawaii's annual growth in state tax revenue was declining well before the recession. State revenue grew at an average annual rate of 11 percent from 1950 to 1979, slowed in the 80s to just under 10 percent, and dropped to 3.6 percent in the 90s.

The growth rate increased to 4 percent per year from 2000 to 2009 and has risen to nearly 7 percent annually since then.

read ... Elitist Liberal Inequality 

Hawaii TANF Enrollment Up 85% During Recession

WaPo: Some states responded better than others during the downturn. In that time period, Oregon increased its enrollment by 72 percent, Hawaii by 85 percent, and Delaware by 70 percent. Other states saw decreases: Enrollment fell in Vermont by 41 percent, in Arizona by 23 percent, and in Indiana by 22 percent.

The recession highlighted another criticism of TANF, which is that compelling people to work does not necessarily mean they will find work or escape poverty. A 2009 paper in the American Journal of Public Health noted that families often cycle on and off benefits. Those who do leave TANF voluntarily are hardly well off, living below the poverty line on average, and one early analysis estimated that 20 percent of leavers went back on TANF within a year. A 2006 study of 1,075 families in Milwaukee concluded at the end of four years that, “most of these TANF applicants were no better off, and, in many cases, they were worse off than when they sought assistance.”

So there is growing population of families that have stumbled through all 60 months of federal eligibility. Many states have extension programs, but these are vulnerable in an era of tight budgets. Maine for instance, used to automatically extend TANF benefits for most families who used up their 60 months.

read ... Welfare

Obamacare’s Abortion Shell Game

NRO: Good luck trying to figure out whether plans cover abortion and how they pay for it....  Even when plan details are written out, it’s often not clear if the plans refer to elective abortions. It’s not clear whether terms such as such as “interruption of pregnancy,” “pregnancy termination included,” or “abortion services” refer to elective abortions. (We found insurers using such language in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, for example.) ...

We need transparency about abortion coverage, especially from insurers in states that allow Obamacare plans to cover elective abortion. Those states: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.

read ... Obamacare’s Abortion Shell Game

Housing $900M Less Affordable--Cost of Proposed DoH Cesspool Regs

HTH: A draft plan by the state Department of Health is raising a stink among local real estate agents and builders who say proposed rules requiring that septic tank systems replace cesspools could add $10,000 to the price of a new home and make buying and selling existing homes less affordable.

The proposed rules are just part of a 115-page draft water quality plan that also includes new water quality monitoring initiatives, reducing unpermitted underground injection wells, prioritizing impaired watersheds for restoration and completing guidelines for treatment and reuse of recycled water....

The 115-page plan can be viewed at

The plan will be presented during a public hearing scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday in Honolulu, with videoconference setups on neighbor islands. For Hawaii Island, the meeting will be videoconferenced at Hilo Environmental Health Facility Training Room, 1582 Kamehameha Ave.

The public can also comment in writing by emailing comments by Oct. 17 to

Hilo real estate broker Bob Williams is among those with concerns.

“It’s got huge implications for those trying to build lower income housing,” Williams said.

Williams said proposed requirements will not only require septic systems in smaller subdivisions that are currently exempt, but will also require existing cesspools be replaced with septic systems shortly after a property is transferred through sale or other means....

There are currently 90,000 cesspools in the state. (90,000 x $10,000 = $900M) The majority, some 50,000, are located on the Big Island. In addition, almost 14,000 are on Kauai, more than 12,000 are on Maui, more than 11,000 are on Oahu and more than 1,400 are on Molokai. Each year an additional 800 new cesspools (800 x $10,000 = $8M) are approved for construction, according to the Health Department.


read ... No Affordable Housing

Three Candidates, Three Views on Future of Fast-Growing Kakaako

CB: Independent candidate Mufi Hannemann made headlines last month when he said he wants to return control of the district to the city....

The former mayor thinks that under the city’s new transit-oriented development plans (which include proposals for affordable housing requirements), more low-income housing would be built than is currently being built through the HCDA....

He also opposes adding condos on the makai side of Kakaako. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs lobbied the Legislature unsuccessfully last session for the right to build residential high-rises there, which many Kakaako residents resisted. Hannemann said he would be open to hearing alternative proposals from OHA....

David Ige also doesn’t want condos on the makai side of Kakaako, but disagrees with Hannemann about returning its jurisdiction to the city....

In June, his campaign calculated that less than 7 percent of the housing being built in Kakaako is affordable for people earning less than 100 percent of the area median income. Ige said that at least 20 percent of the housing built should be affordable....

Duke Aiona, a Republican who served as lieutenant governor under former Gov. Linda Lingle, is on the same page as Ige about keeping Kakaako with the state.

“Why didn’t he make that request as a mayor?” Aiona asked of Hannemann. “It’s a political grab, that’s all it is.”

Like Ige, Aiona also said he supports the need for more affordable housing, and would consider redefining what qualifies as affordable there. But he noted that because the district has only been partially developed, that doesn’t provide a full picture of what housing will be available....

Unlike Hannemann and Ige, Aiona would support adding condos on Kakaako Makai.

read ... Three Candidates, Three Views on Future of Fast-Growing Kakaako

Maui News: Leave Ludicrous Anti-GMO Initiative on Ballot

MN: We are opposed to the ban on genetically modified organisms in Maui County proposed in the ballot initiative that will be decided Nov. 4.

As far as we can see, there is not a scintilla of scientific evidence that shows any human being has ever been harmed by a GMO. The potential of this ban to put 600 or so folks out of work seems ludicrous to us.

That said, we hope the initiative remains on the ballot. The effort by a group of GMO advocates to get a court to take the initiative off the ballot because its title may be misleading is misguided.

read ... A misguided court effort

Junk: Netherlands Returns Trains to Ansaldo

RJ: THE first of the V250 Fyra high-speed trains rejected by Netherlands Railways (NS) began its journey from Watergraafsmeer yard in Amsterdam back to the AnsaldoBreda plant in Pistoia, Italy, on September 7.

The return of the trains to the supplier is the outcome of the settlements reached between AnsaldoBreda and its customers, NS and Belgian National Railways (SNCB), following the collapse of the Amsterdam – Brussels Fyra service in January 2013, which led ultimately to the cancellation of both orders.

All of the trains currently stored in the Netherlands will be returned to Italy by the end of the year.

AnsaldoBreda is looking to find a market for the rejected trains

read ... Ansaldo Junk

Puna lava flow now within tenth of a mile of Kaohe Homesteads subdivision

HNN: Hawaii County Civil Defense officials say a flyover of the Puna lava flow on Monday morning indicates it has advanced northeast approximately 250 yards since Sunday and is now about 0.1 miles from the northwest or upper corner of the Wao Kele Forest Reserve and Kaohe homesteads boundary.

Officials say the flow still does not pose an immediate threat to area communities, because it's currently closest to the northwest corner of the neighborhood where there are no houses, but 284 acres of vacant land.

read ... 500 feet

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