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Kim’s budget shell game proposes no GET hike, pay at pump with oil tax instead
Kim, chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, will be unveiling her own version of the state's $4.8 billion general fund budget, adding that preliminary plans call for about $14 million in cuts, compared with the more than $40 million cut in the House version. ($36M more to feed HGEA/UPW.)
The state's Act 221, which has created a set of tax incentives for high-tech investments (sic), would be deferred, according to the Kim plan. That would save the state $93 million and is expected to face strong opposition from the high-tech community.
Last time someone wanted to hike the oil tax: Furloughs: Advertiser sides with “sustainability” billionaires , Furloughs: How Unions and the DoE aim to co-opt protesting parents
RELATED: Overtaxed Hawaii: Protest against GE Tax hike March 23
The Tax Man: Attacking problem with tax increase reflects arrogance
Well, the other shoe has dropped and it now appears that unlike the House, which was willing to look at other ways to fill the looming general fund budget gap, the state Senate seems to be more than willing to solve the fiscal crises facing the state by increasing the general excise tax.
Bolstered by the public employee unions and the social service and health communities, state solons seem to believe that it is up to taxpayers to tighten their belts and cough up the money necessary to keep the public sector whole.
GET hike would hurt the poor, stall recovery
The Senate committees passed the GET increase under the pretext that it was necessary to balance the budget. However, the Lingle-Aiona administration already has proposed a balanced budget that didn't include a GET increase.
For the past year, the Lingle-Aiona administration has been working vigorously to spur Hawaii's economic recovery. But with a 25 percent state GET tax increase, Hawaii's hope of rounding the corner in the near future will be stalled.
The proposal to hike the GET will be vetoed; that much has been made clear by Gov. Linda Lingle.
Seante Ways and Means Chairwoman Donna Mercado Kim and other senators should table this bill and consider more responsible approaches to balancing the budget.
SB: Hawaii health law must be secured (Hirono caught in a lie)
"Hawaii's premier state health care law remains intact," said U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, whose amendment to the bill provides an exemption for the Hawaii law in areas where it is stronger than the federal provisions.
The Legislature amended the state law to provide that it "terminate ... upon the effective date of federal legislation that provides for mandatory prepaid health care."
"It's an issue," Hirono told the Star-Bulletin's editorial board last month. (Hirono caught in another lie.)
Goaded by its tea party believers, (Goaded? Believers? Can you feel the SB editors’ brittle arrogance? Soon these clowns will be in charge of the only newspaper in town) Republican members of Congress are already talking about repealing the federal plan. While Gov. Linda Lingle opposes the federal bill, her administration is not among the dozen states threatening to file a lawsuit alleging that requiring people to buy health insurance intrudes on state rights.
More likely, the general public can be expected to appreciate national health care with each passing year (Democrat talking point), just as it came to embrace Social Security and Medicare. Residents of Hawaii can take pride in leading the way and should be allowed to retain the ingredients of its success. (As long as we make sure to exempt ourselves.)
REALITY: Hawaii Hospitals: Not Quite Catching Up To Africa , Progressives denounce Obamacare: “Giveaway to corporations, hardship for middle class”
ADV: City-FAA beef not reassuring
A leisurely timetable won't help Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who is counting on a successful start to the rail project to fit seamlessly with his gubernatorial campaign schedule. You can count on him aggressively pushing for that first shovel of dirt to be turned.
And maybe he's right.
But it's tough to separate the mayor pushing for rail from the mayor pushing to be governor.
It's also tough to separate the governor looking out for the public's best interest from the governor trying to trip up a political antagonist.
(And it is tough not to notice the ADV’s pro-Mufi bias when it somehow tries to make the Governor responsible for what is obviously a city screw up.)
REALITY: Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can
Hawaii lawmakers urge consolidating furlough days
Takumi said. "It was raised, 'Why don't we just end the school year earlier?' But if no one works in that given month, then how do they accrue benefits? The feds do not allow someone to not work for a whole month and still accrue benefits." (Its for the keiki. Really.)
PDF: Read House Resolution 192
PDF: Read House Concurrent Resolution 267
Hawaii Health Department: 'Vexatious Requesters' Should Be Banned from Asking for Obama Birth Certificate
Sen. Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai, was the only Hawaii Senator of 25 to oppose the measure. Slom says he has several problems with the legislation, including the fact that it is too broad, too vague and gives too much authority to bureaucrats whose are getting paid to provide information to the public…. He points out that for years, people have been asking the Hawaii State Department of Education and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for their expenditures “and they don’t get it.”
Sen. Les Ihara, D-Kaimuki, who open government groups rely on for advocacy of transparency legislation, voted for the bill because he thought it was “reasonable.” But now he is having second thoughts and says the language might be too broad. “… now there are some concerns that the bill might be used against legitimate requests and requestors. Their concern, and mine, now is that any two criteria listed in the bill could allow OIP to designate a request as vexatious. I’ve got to study the bill further and get more input, but I now have concerns about the criteria being too broad. I do agree with the bill’s purpose to address requests that have no open government purpose, but am concerned that legitimate requests could be denied using this bill.”
Survey finds 75 Visitors, some of whom are asking: 'Why no gambling?'
Asked what could be done to improve their visit to Hawai'i, travelers from both countries said reduce the amount of time it takes to clear immigration at Honolulu International Airport, hire more visitor-industry workers in Waikīkī who speak their native tongues , and have more signs in their languages. They additionally groused about the quality of local Chinese and Korean restaurants, according to the study.
"However, the biggest complaint by the tourists was a lack of entertainment in Waikīkī," according to the news release.
"They have seen what is available during their first visit and indicate that there is not enough to do in the evening and to return they will need more in the future," the study said.
"When asked to better define the desired evening entertainment, there is little concensus, with one exception — gambling."
Local business leaders also were polled for the study, the majority of whom "are opposed to the gambling entertainment option due to its potential negative impact on local residents."
The study was conducted by SMS Research and Marketing Services, a Honolulu-based travel research company (which has always been able to ‘shape’ polls and studies to suit the desires of its clients.) It was based on interviews with travelers, travel agents and local business leaders. (And who paid for the study? Gambling lobbyist Radcliffe?)
SB: Asian visitors want more night life
The survey spoke with 61 visitors from China and 14 from Korea. It also spoke with seven travel agents for China and nine for Korea, and 13 local tourism officials.
"This is more of a focus group than a scientific survey…." (And now its front page news….)
Welfare Cheats: Four sentenced in Hilo after years of freeloading
Ogline pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree theft. He was accused of stealing the identity of another man to obtain $23,617 in federal Supplemental Security Income and $48,740 in public assistance benefits between 2001 and 2008….
Michelle Denig, 43, pleaded no contest to one count of second-degree theft. Denig was charged with fraudulently obtaining thousands of dollars in public assistance benefits between 2003 and 2009. She will be sentenced on May 10….
HGEA, UPW operatives now blaming cutbacks for deaths, dope, koa poaching
KALALAU — The body of 58-year-old Kaua‘i resident Rodney Ahn found in Kalalau Valley last month prompted a state Department of Land and Natural Resources employee to raise questions about funding cutbacks, which he said are hurting the agency’s ability to perform its job.
The DLNR employee was also concerned that marijuana cultivation might be increasing in Kalalau due to the lack of enforcement….
The DLNR is “working with State Parks Division to secure helicopter services that will allow more regular enforcement patrols in Kalalau Valley,” DLNR Information Specialist Deborah Ward said.
31 Pacific Century Fellows inducted into old boy system
The program connects participants with the senior community and social and government leaders with a goal of nurturing relationships among individuals committed to finding creative solutions to challenges facing the state and nation.
“Many of our previous fellows already have gone on to make a positive impact in our community, and this class will be no different,” said Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who founded the program in 1996.
Hannemann was a White House Fellow in 1983-84.
The program will begin with a two-day retreat on April 9-10, followed by a year-long effort to investigate critical issues facing Hawaii in areas such as crime, education, environment, quality of life, the military, and the economy.
HMC amps up cardiac care
In years past, if Big Island doctors believed that their patients were presenting symptoms of blood vessel blockages, which can cause heart attacks and strokes, their only option was to give them "non-invasive" diagnostic tests.
The only treatment was to give them blood thinners and send them to Queen’s….
RURAL HEALTH CARE IN HAWAII: Hawaii Hospitals: Not Quite Catching Up To Africa
Honolulu bill would seize cars to curb prostitution
But Councilman Charles Djou, who introduced the council bill, said prostitution on the streets remains a problem in urban Honolulu, including in Waikīkī and Chinatown. And he said the problem won't go away until johns are targeted.
"I do think this is something that can work," Djou said….
Djou and residents say prostitution is still prevalent in several areas, and police point out many prostitutes and pimps are turning to the Internet, where they connect on social networking Web sites and are harder to track.