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Sunday, September 26, 2021
September 26, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:55 PM :: 838 Views

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted September 25, 2021

Make Your Own Hawaii Redistricting Maps Online

Easy Eco Promises: DLNR Pledges 100M Trees by 2030

Diversity is More than Race: Hawaii Ranks 3rd

Best States for Teachers? Hawaii Ranks 44th

MYTH: The Jones Act contributes to economic growth 

Tax Planning with the Rich and Famous

$100M TAT Hike for Honolulu?

Borreca: … In practical politics, it is always better to have someone else raise taxes….

the Legislature, stung by sinking tax collections, wanted more money for state services, employee salaries, and new and increasingly expensive programs. Legislative leaders could see that a good way to get more money without raising taxes would be to take it from the counties and let the counties go find more money.

The counties shared in the state-collected hotel room tax money until this year, when the Legislature scooped their funds.

Instead of giving the counties money, the Legislature gave the counties permission to tax hotel rooms themselves, collecting up to 3% more….

So far only Kauai has taken up the Legislature’s challenge and put together a new tax bill.

According to The Garden Island newspaper, Mayor Derek Kawakami plans to sign the legislation, and Kauai County lawmakers were also moving to tax all gross rentals, gross rental proceeds and fair market rental value considered taxable to be collected each month.

On Maui, a tax bill is under consideration, and on the Big Island the county council is working on the issue. Hawaii County Councilmember Heather Kimball said the Council is looking at including a new tax to restore the $20 million lost.

Good enough for the neighbor island counties, but the big issue will be with Honolulu County.

So far, there are no specifics but much concern about how to handle the missing transient accommodations tax (TAT)….

“When the state Legislature passed the law allowing the counties to levy the TAT directly on visitor accommodations, they also repealed the allocation given to the counties previously, taking over $100 million from what the counties rely upon each year,” according to City Council Chairman Tommy Waters….

“The City and County of Honolulu must consider levying the TAT to address that budget shortfall and other needs….”

Now millions will come from tourists, with both the state and the county in on the action. The path may still be confusing, but it will also be much more expensive.,…

read … Legislature gives hotel room tax authority — and passes tax-increase buck — to counties

Hawaii Among Slowest to Process Unemployment Claims

Shapiro: … Problems with the state’s unemployment system still aren’t fixed 18 months into the pandemic, with federal data showing Hawaii among the slowest states in processing payments. As long as state workers are getting paid, there’s no emergency….

read … Dear tourists: Confusion is the true Hawaii experience

Counting inmates where they live: Redistricting Commission ponders jail and prison populations

HTH: … “Including incarcerated persons in the population count for the district in which their facility is located alters representational proportions and, as a result, the voting power of residents,” Jacob Aki, representing Common Cause Hawaii said Thursday in testimony to the commission. “Counting Hawaii’s incarcerated population according to their home addresses will eliminate this issue and ensure an accurate and true reapportionment.”…

Moving inmate counts to their regular addresses could especially affect Hilo, home to Hawaii Community Correctional Center, which on March 31, 2020, had an official count of 388 inmates, according to statistics furnished by the Hawaii Department of Public Safety. In comparison, Kulani minimum security prison, located about 20 miles southwest of Hilo, had 166 inmates on that date. The census counted the population as of April 1, 2020.

In fact, group populations in Hilo’s census tract 202.02 alone account for 15.7% of the total population of 2,035, according to census data. A tract is a group of census blocks, which form the smallest geography of the census counts.

read … Counting inmates where they live: Redistricting Commission ponders jail and prison populations

Meeting on Hoku Ke‘a decommissioning goes sideways

HTH: … The meeting, which had only about two dozen attendees, was also intended to discuss the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ draft environmental assessment of the project, which found on Sept. 8 that it will have no significant impact on the environment.

However, because UH is also planning on building a new teaching telescope at Halepohaku, the mid-level facility on Maunakea, public discussion at the meeting quickly moved away from technical details and turned toward the Halepohaku project instead….

In the event that the UH master lease is not renewed, all telescopes on the mountain, including the planned teaching telescope at Halepohaku, would be decommissioned, Chun said….

The public comment period on the draft environmental assessment for Hoku Ke‘a’s decommissioning ends Oct. 8. The assessment can be read at hokukea.konveio.com.

read … Meeting on Hoku Ke‘a decommissioning goes sideways

Ritte Not Paid off by Aquaculture Industry

SA: … This summer, developers launched a bid to construct an industrial aquaculture facility in waters off Oahu’s Ewa Beach. These facilities use huge net pens to grow fish ….

SA Column: Aquaculture provides climate-based solutions to feeding America

read … Greenmail

With Pfizer boosters now available, some line up to get an extra dose of protection

HNN: … The Queen’s Health System says about 30% of the people who went to the pop-up vaccine clinic at Wahiawa General Hospital on Saturday got the Pfizer booster shot.

With no hesitation, Patty Dukes of Wahiawa jumped in line to get the vaccine.

“But when it came to this and the devastation, I got it as soon as I could,” said Patty Dukes of Wahiawa. “Because I’ve been watching all of this and participating in it, and watching and waiting for that vaccination to come out.”…

The state Department of Health advises vaccine providers to prioritize people 65 and older and those 50 to 64 years old with underlying medical conditions….

Another pop-up vaccination clinic will be held at Wahiawa General Hospital on Oct. 23….

HTH: Booster shots available but emphasis still on the unvaccinated

read … With Pfizer boosters now available, some line up to get an extra dose of protection

Delta variant prompts limits on some goods — like toilet paper (again)

HNN: … Costco is known as a place where customers buy family-sized quantities at a low price. But limits are being placed on certain items.

The big-box retailer announced that it is limiting the amount of toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies you can buy, yet again, thanks to nationwide delivery delays.

“I remember when COVID started, you know, people were hoarding and there was nothing left on the shelves, so I don’t mind the limit,” said shopper Anna Wilson, as she loaded up her car with her groceries — along with one pack of toilet paper and one pack of paper towels that she said she was picking up for friends.

“Containers are all in the wrong place, the ships are all in the wrong place, and after the initial shutdown, it’s taken more than a year for supply chains to get back into the old flow,” said Paul Brewbaker of TZ Economics.

It’s even hit mom-and-pops, like Itchy Butt on Keeaumoku Street, where the sign on the takeout counter explains why they’ve temporarily raised their prices. The eatery said the costs of meats and restaurant supplies have gone up, and there are also shipping issues….

While major ports on the mainland have been impacted, Matson and Pasha both said that their ships are still arriving on schedule in Honolulu.

“Service continues uninterrupted and volumes remain steady,” a spokesman for Matson said in an email….

After Hawaii’s hotels hit 80% occupancy in early July, they’ve now fallen to about 45%, leaving the beaches at Waikiki less crowded lately.

read … Delta variant prompts limits on some goods — like toilet paper (again)

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