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Sunday, March 21, 2010
March 21, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:56 PM :: 9579 Views

LINK>>>Bought and paid for, will Hirono cast the deciding vote for Obamacare?

LINK>>>GOP’s Ramsay Wharton to challenge Hirono for Outer Islands Congressional Seat

As Congress votes, Honolulu Advertiser floods zone with Obamacare propaganda

Obamacare payoff to Hirono: Health offices to receive $3.4M grant

Tax revenue for rail falling short this year: Financing not meeting even lowered forecast

The city expects to raise a net $164 million, or about $13.7 million a month, in the 12 months ending June 30. However, through the first eight months of the fiscal year monthly collections from the half-percentage-point tax averaged $13.1 million, according to calculations based on state Department of Taxation figures.

(If the Legislature raises the GE Tax, it will further depress economic activity causing revenues from the 0.5% Oahu rail override on the GE Tax to produce even less revenue.)

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SB: Gubernatorial candidates must speak up on budget cuts

Democratic legislators have criticized Gov. Linda Lingle for proposing pay reductions for state employees in the next two fiscal years, since she will no longer be governor. Indeed, candidates for governor will need to tell taxpayers clearly how they will achieve a balanced budget without reducing government salaries or increasing taxes….

Lingle said her budget plan suggested for her successor aims at reducing the size of government and restructuring the Medicaid program to provide basic services for poor people, but not "at a level that's beyond what working people are getting."

"The next governor would face all the labor negotiations when they come in just the way I did when I first came in," Lingle told reporters.

As head of the Senate's money committee, Kim said she is "looking very heavily at the special fund transfers and some other creative ways of cutting costs." However, her committee is considering an increase in the general excise tax, recommended by two other Senate committees. The tax hike is endorsed by the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the Hawaii Government Employees Association on the convoluted theory that higher taxes and consequent government wage increases will fuel the state's economy.

Lingle understands that increased taxes instead would cost thousands of jobs in small businesses and the tourism industry trying to make ends meet. Candidates to be her successor must clearly articulate their plans to balance the state's budget without further crippling the state's economy.

(And so we really don’t need to hear Abercrombie and Hannemann.  Kim speaks for them.  They will raise taxes.)

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Broadcaster Robertson speaks highly of Aiona on '700 Club'

(There is not even one word of the usual “progressive” rhetoric one might expect from the Star-Bulletin.  Instead Aiona is saluted by his opponents, who then make arguments why faith-based voters should back them instead.  Why?  Here’s the answer at the end of the article…)   

Winning Hawaii churchgoing voters may be an advantageous strategy this campaign year because churches are doing more to organize.

Francis Oda, chairman of the board of the Hawaii Family Forum, who is also a pastor and CEO of the architectural firm Group 70 International, said the forum is working to register voters and make sure they vote through a program dubbed I Vote.

"We are trying to do it systematically through the churches ... through pastors and priests and organize it," said Oda in an interview Thursday.

Oda estimates that there could be up to 200,000 Catholic and evangelical churchgoers who could vote. Speculating that if just 10 percent voted, it could be a politically important factor.

"If we could get 10 percent, it would be 20,000 and any number like that would have a significant impact on races in Hawaii," Oda said.

He stressed that the Family Forum and I Vote were not supporting specific candidates or political parties, but instead would distribute churches information about candidates voting records and responses to a survey on issues.

Hannemann and Aiona appear to be the top candidates for the church-going voters, according to Dennis Arakaki, executive director of the Family Forum and the Hawaii Catholic Conference.

"In the Christian community many are supporting Duke and there are also many supporting Mufi," Arakaki said. "It is sort of 'Anybody but Abercrombie.'"

Both Hannemann and Aiona have supported laws that keep marriage defined as between a man and woman, while Abercrombie has supported civil union legislation before the state Legislature.

Arakaki speculated that voters may reject Abercrombie in the Democratic primary against Hannemann, but then the issue would still be undecided in a general election between Aiona and Hannemann.

RELATED: Churches Are Key to Creating Two-Party Political System for Hawaii

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Video: Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona talks about bid for governor

(HawaiiNewsNow) - Lieutenant Governor James "Duke" Aiona wants to move up into the state's top job. How would things change if he became governor? Or would they? He joins us this morning.

WATCH: Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona

Abercrombie pretends fixing schools would be priority as governor

(The Kucinich voters at Maui News write a fluff piece on their favorite Gubernatorial candidate…)

Abercrombie said he would make the Department of Education superintendent an appointed, Cabinet-level position - reporting directly to him - and reduce the power of the Board of Education, perhaps to a role overseeing curriculum decisions.

(And they didn’t even notice that this is not a promise a Governor can keep.  This change, proposed by Governor Lingle, requires legislative approval now for a vote on the necessary Constitutional Amendment this November.  It will be settled or killed before the next governor takes office.)

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Developer Grove Farm cashes in on family connections: ‘Smart growth community’ to offer sustainable living

LIHU‘E — Embarking on a new wave of sustainable living, Steve Case’s Grove Farm Co. is developing the first walkable “smart growth community” on island, President and Chief Executive Officer Warren Haruki said Friday.

(While other developments are fought tooth and nail, there is not a word of opposition to this Grove Farm development.  By the way, who is the Chair of the Hawaii Sierra Club?  Oh, that’s right, Suzanne Case.  A coincidence, I’m sure.)

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Home fix-ups may earn tax credit: Legislators consider lame 4% incentive while ignoring Hotel tax credit

House Bill 2381 was introduced to provide a 4 percent tax credit to homeowners for home improvement design, construction and material costs.

Under the most recent amended version of the bill, the credit would apply to qualified spending between 2011 and 2013.

The Senate Education and Housing Committee passed the bill recently after House approval last month. But the measure still faces scrutiny from the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and potentially from Gov. Linda Lingle, who prefers a hotel construction and remodeling tax credit over a residential remodeling credit.

Other uncertainties surrounding HB 2381 include an unspecified cap on credits a homeowner can claim, and the lack of estimates on how much spending the bill might create and at what expense to state tax revenue.

State Rep. Sharon Har, who introduced the bill, said the tax credit essentially discounts home improvement costs for homeowners by roughly what they would pay in general excise taxes on materials and services.

"It's really a wash," said Har, D-40th (Royal Kunia, Makakilo, Kapolei).

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HPD disciplined 26 officers in '09: 'Malicious' force, falsifying of records among violations

On the Big Island, police reported 16 incidents in 2009 that resulted in one termination for failing a drug test.

Kaua'i police reported six officers disciplined in seven incidents last year. One officer was fired for failing to dispatch proper units to a medical emergency and for transmitting inappropriate language over the police radio.

Information submitted to the Legislature by Maui police did not include discipline statistics.

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