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Tuesday, March 30, 2010
March 30, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:19 PM :: 5565 Views

LINK>>>Fireworks, dirt, and stolen trucks: Colleen Hanabusa and the Honolulu Raceway Deal

House committee considers bills that allow governor to appoint BOE

Republican Gov. Linda Lingle's administration said the proposals in Senate bills 2570 and 2571 give the appearance of reform but continue to keep a layer of bureaucracy with the board maintaining power to appoint the school superintendent.

SB 2570 would ask voters to allow the governor to appoint the school board, which then would appoint the school superintendent. SB 2571 calls for a vote on whether board members would be appointed by the governor from a list of qualified candidates presented by a selection advisory council, and the board would then appoint the superintendent.

"We don't believe they go far enough," said Linda Smith, Lingle's senior policy adviser.

Lingle wants the constitutional amendment to allow the governor to appoint the school superintendent as a Cabinet-level position that has the power of the school board.

Under the Lingle administration's proposals, the governor would be able to appoint the superintendent upon the advice and consent of the state Senate.

SB 2570 was supported by the Hawaii Business Roundtable and Hawaii Association of Independent Schools.

The group Hawaii's Children First, including former Democratic Govs. George Ariyoshi, Ben Cayetano and John Waihee, support a school board appointed by the governor.

(Lying through his teeth) Toguchi said under Lingle's initial budget proposal, she would have likely furloughed teachers and other employees 36 days each year.

(No, a Sup’t not beholden to the criminal HSTA/BoE/DoE combine would have cut waste, fraud and corruption, not instructional days.)

REALITY: Hamamoto's DoE resignation: To block Lingle's constitutional amendment? , Furloughs vs Layoffs: The union no-solution strategy ,

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Slom and Zimmerman may bid for the Bulletin

Slom said he and a team of local investors will submit an offer on behalf of the for-profit Smart Business Hawaii by the Monday deadline.

Zimmerman said she will submit a separate bid using a nonprofit model similar to Hawaii Reporter, the online publication that she launched in 2002.

ADV: Senator a potential Star-Bulletin buyer

Slom, R-8th (Kāhala, Hawai'i Kai), president of Smart Business Hawaii, said he's spoken with potential investors who believe that there's room for a well-written, second daily newspaper in Honolulu.

"I'm still convinced — and several other people are — that if you have the right content and format, there is a niche market for it," said Slom.

"But the numbers are ... difficult."

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Socialism: 50% of Big Isle kids had prenatal substance exposure

Data for pregnant women on the Big Island suggest about half of the island's 37,892 children under age 18 were exposed before birth to alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use, researchers report….

Caucasian and native Hawaiian women had the highest rates of positive screens for substance use, with 60 percent prevalence for each group. Substances also were used by 48 percent of the pregnant Asian women, 30 percent of Filipino women and 53 percent of women of mixed race.

(So what’s the Leg doing about it?  Oh that’s right, they’re legalizing ‘medical’ marijuana and eliminating anti-tobacco programs to feed the HGEA.)

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Hawaii Senate panel's draft budget taps various funds

The committee chose to scoop some hotel-room taxes from the counties to balance the budget. Senators want to cap the hotel-room taxes at $50 million, while the state House version of the budget set the cap at the existing $94 million.

Lingle had proposed scooping all the hotel-room tax money from the counties to help close the deficit.

The committee also siphoned $45 million from various special funds to combat the deficit.

The committee would take $32.5 million from the state's hurricane relief fund and $33.5 million from the general fund to reduce 12 of 17 teacher furlough days next fiscal year. Senators expect teachers to make up the remaining five days through adjustments to non-instructional days.

The committee also would cut non-core functions at the state Department of Education.

ADV: Senate budget could siphon $44M of room tax from counties

SB: Senate budget bill raids funds, shuts prison--The proposal would also restore 12 of 17 school furlough days

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No TAT? City may eliminate cultural programs (Washington Monument gambit)

All Summer Fun and senior citizen programs, the Royal Hawaiian Band, the Office of Culture and the Arts and Office of Economic Development could face elimination by the City Council if the state Legislature slashes hotel room tax revenues that go to the counties, Council Budget Chairman Nestor Garcia said last night.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday passed a bill that would cap the counties' share of the transient accommodations tax at $50 million .

That's just over half of the $99.4 million for fiscal year 2011 projected to be shared by Honolulu, Maui, Hawai'i and Kaua'i counties.

For the city, that would mean needing to cut at least $20 million from the $1.82 billion operating budget submitted by Mayor Mufi Hannemann earlier this month.

EXPLAINED: Washington Monument gambit

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228 to lose jobs, 31 offices will be shut as Hawaii DHS modernizes system

The department said demand for benefits for welfare, Medicaid and the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program, formerly known as food stamps, has increased because of the global economic crisis and that a streamlined process will improve customer service while saving taxpayers an estimated $8 million a year.

DHS plans to consolidate the functions of 31 state offices into a new Eligibility Processing and Operations Division that will process benefits statewide from two facilities in Honolulu and Hilo. The two processing centers will be in operation by Oct. 1.

DHS said it will not need its current large staff to handle the workload and it plans to reduce its workforce by 228 employees, effective June 30. 

(Better service, less HGEA.  Win-Win.  Oh, and we save money, too!)

SB: State, union clash over proposal to cut 228 human services workers

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Funding HOPE makes sense for budget, crime

Actual enforcement of probation requirements.  What a concept.

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Few nursing homes fined for infractions

On Christmas 2007, a Nu'uanu nursing home resident fell for the 17th time that year, injuring a toe so badly it had to be amputated. A few miles away, a resident at another nursing home fell more than a dozen times from August 2007 to July 2008, twice breaking the right hip. The resident, who was unable to speak, was found several times lying or crawling on the floor, sometimes with a soiled diaper removed.  (Of course the ONLY reason this is in he news is because the HGEA wants to use it as an excuse to raise taxes.  At the end of the legislative session, the media will lose interest and with or without a tax increase, nothing will be done about the underlying problem—except to make more excuses.)

ADV: State looks into new sanctioning powers, Hawaii's violator blacklist outdated, full of gaps

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Got Sweet Tooth? There’s a Tax for That

the legislature is proposing a surcharge tax on all soft drinks sold in the State (HB 2153). The tax is a mirror of a similar tax proposed in New York City

In the House of Representatives, House Bill 2850 HD1, introduced by House Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say, D- Palolo, would increase the liquor tax rates for 5 years.

The average tax per cigarette pack in the US is $1.34, with Hawaii the fifth highest in the nation taxing $2.60 per pack.

House Bill 1985, moving through the Senate, includes a variety of additional tax increase measures. One of the increases in particular is devastating to the increase of taxes for Cigarettes and Little Cigars to the tobacco industry and smokers. The proposal is to increase the tax from 2.60 per pack to 3.00 per pack. In addition, last year the Legislature passed an increase in a phased escalating tax method over a number of years and are again seeking to increase this escalating tax method.

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Kalapa: Alternatives to Proposed Hawaii Tax Increase Need Serious Consideration at the Legislature

Special funds become “out of sight and out of mind” and the people who benefit from those programs are no longer held accountable for the expenditure of those moneys. More importantly, these special funds erode the flexibility of lawmakers to alter programs depending on the changing priorities of state government. It locks lawmakers into a corner because they no longer can shift moneys between programs or for that matter reduce or eliminate irrelevant programs. Bottom line is they need to get rid of these special funds.

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HTH: County, state tax hikes a terrible idea in hard times

If the mayor really wants to demonstrate his management chops -- and he remains unproven in that area -- he should balance the budget without increasing taxes.
Now that would be a "tough decision" we could admire.

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Bill recognizes cultural value of cockfighting

Glad to see the legislature taking on the BIG issues!  BTW did you know that Neil Abercrombie’s first political campaign was launched from jail after being arrested at an illegal cock fight?  I didn’t either until I saw Abercrombie’s very own campaign poster (circa 1970)>>> The Incrdible [sic] Story of Neil Abercrombie

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Delaware, Tennessee to get $600 million in 'Race to the Top' grants—Hawaii gets zero

And thanks to the HSTA/DoE/BoE—and the Legislature--Hawaii won’t be getting any.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan praised Tennessee and Delaware because all of their school districts approved the applications for the money. Tennessee will get $500 million, and Delaware (smaller population than Hawaii) will receive $100 million, he said.

"This is not about a pilot or a model," he said in a call with reporters. "They were trying to reach every child in their state."  (Hear that, Matayoshi???)

RELATED: Fewer Hawaii schools offer summer classes

REALITY: HSTA WINS ROUND ONE! Hawaii denied “Race to the Top” funds, reform


  • DoE's Charter Cap: Another reason Hawaii likely won't get RTTT funds
  • Hamamoto's DoE resignation: To block Lingle's constitutional amendment?
  • HSTA using furloughs to keep “Race to the Top” dollars—and reform--out of Hawaii schools

    read more



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