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Saturday, May 9, 2009
May 9, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:59 AM :: 6323 Views

Hawaii taxes to go up July 1 as lawmakers override governor

Hawai'i now has the highest income tax rate for top bracket earners in the country, and visitors paying $200 a night for a hotel room will pay an additional $4 in taxes by 2011.

Leveraging their overwhelming majority in the state Senate and House of Representatives, Democratic legislators increased state income taxes on the wealthy, the hotel-room tax, the conveyance tax on the sale of luxury and second homes, and a tax on tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco and cigars.

RELATED: Lingle warns of job losses , Tax veto override vote

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Lydia Hemmings indicted in theft of funds from nonprofit

Lydia Hemmings, wife of state Sen. Fred Hemmings, R-25th (Kailua, Waimanalo, Hawai'i Kai), has been indicted on charges of stealing funds from a charity she headed in 2005. 

She is accused of stealing money from Blueprint for Change, a nonprofit dedicated to improving child welfare in Hawai'i, in May, August and October of 2005.

The three-count indictment was obtained by the state attorney general's office.

Speaking for his wife, Fred Hemmings said financial issues at Blueprint for Change "were gone over completely several years ago and were resolved after two audits."

"I'm very perplexed that this has happened now," he said of the criminal charges.

"Indictments like this don't just come out of the blue without somebody going to the attorney general's office and complaining," Hemmings said.

Lydia Hemmings is in the process of finding an attorney to defend herself, the senator said.

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SB:  More are accepting of civil unions

Two votes taken by the state Senate on Thursday left unclear whether a majority favors civil unions for same-sex couples, but the national trend indicates that acceptance of such families will grow. Legislators should approve gay civil unions next year.

Still, Michael Golojuch of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays is pessimistic about whether legislators will "dare touch it in an election year." If he is right, it will be because they fail to recognize that public opinion on the issue has changed and will keep changing in the same direction.

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Hawaii's poor roads cost taxpayers twice

Honolulu drivers pay an average $688 extra annually for repairs, increased fuel consumption and tire wear due to rough road conditions, a new study finds.

Roads here are among the five worst in the nation for poor pavement, according to the report, "Rough Roads Ahead: Fix Them Now or Pay for It Later." The study looked at pavement conditions on major urban roadways in 20 regions in 2007.

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Bill nulls gambling write-offs

House Bill 1495, introduced by Rep. Pono Chong (D, Kaneohe), would no longer allow Hawaii residents to deduct their losses to offset winnings from out-of-state gambling.

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Hawaii enacts legislation on electric cars, alternative energy

Hawai'i will become one of only a few states that require large parking lots to reserve spaces for electric cars and to provide recharging capacity if a bill passed by the Legislature is signed into law.

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Hawaii parasite victim slowly recovering after weeks in coma

After months of pain and misery caused by Rat Lungworm parasites likely picked up from eating raw food grown in Puna, what is the advice?

"Don't let a slug make you afraid to eat your vegetables."

And there are still folks promoting "raw foodism" in Puna and elsewhere. 

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