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Monday, May 18, 2009
May 18, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:35 AM :: 6545 Views

Gas Prices Up 22 Cents Since March (Takamine tax coming June 30)

Will we see those lower prices again anytime soon?

"Not with the way the government is coming after gasoline," Robinson said.

Federal, state and county governments are all eyeing higher gas taxes to balance their budgets.

Hawaii consumers pay the second-highest gasoline taxes in the country, after California.

Hawaii drivers pay 52 cents in gas taxes for every gallon purchased.

But after June 30, the GE ethanol tax credit will be no more, and Hawaii residents will see a 10-cent increase in gasoline taxes.

Hawaii consumers will then be paying the highest gas taxes in the nation.

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Lawmakers raid 911 emergency communications fund to feed unions

A 66 cent fee on local monthly cell phone bills intended to pay for 911 emergency location technology is now a windfall for the cash-strapped state.

State lawmakers are moving $16 million from the cell phone fund to help balance the state budget and they may grab future revenue from the fee.

The enhanced wireless 911 technology, which was the reason for adding the fee, has been deployed statewide and the system has been paid for. But instead of canceling the fee — which equates to $31.68 a year for a family with four phones — the state continues to collect it and use it for general purposes.

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VIEWPOINT: Legislature failed to address the basic problem with Maui’s hospital health care

MMMC asked to be freed from the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. that robs it blind. This did not happen. MMMC has not really been separated from HHSC. MMMC was seeking to become a private hospital. Maui County needs a private hospital outside the reach of the state system. The Legislature has once again failed us.

Maui County hospital care doesn't need "more autonomy," it needs complete autonomy. Whether it is a new full-service hospital or MMMC, we need to be rid of government involvement. We need to be rid of the parasite known as HHSC. Why would our legislators insist on hanging onto MMMC and feeding it millions of our tax dollars each year? Why do we need an additional layer of management? Perhaps the legislators are protecting their friends at HHSC and the union members who helped put them in office.

Sen. Roz Baker was quoted as saying "Maui Memorial can also now take out loans or revenue bonds, or participate in municipal leasing." Is this the wonderful "range of options" MMMC now has - going further in debt and you and I can pay for it?

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Priorities beg attention from clueless legislators

For years, elected officials swooned over the idea of zero-based budgeting and how beginning at ground zero would help to set priorities for the state's limited resources. But when pressed this year, the Legislature and the administration took two different courses to achieve a balanced budget as required by the state constitution. In the case of the Legislature, it scraped away what spending would not offend any major constituency group and then decided they had done enough to show that they tried to shave spending and resorted in the end to raising more money from tax increases.
The administration, on the other hand, banked on squeezing concessions out of the public employee unions. The mistake was to wait until more than half of the legislative session was over before making it known that was the strategy. This left budget makers in the Legislature with little, if any, time to wait on negotiations with the unions to come up with a firm idea of how much in savings, if any, could be cranked into the state budget.

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Honolulu's senior centers in 'dire straits' as state cuts support

"We are going into dire straits," said Stella Wong of Catholic Charities Hawai'i, which operates the Lanakila Multi-purpose Senior Center in Kalihi. Lanakila is looking at paring back programs and considering other options as it faces a $200,000 shortfall in the coming fiscal year.

The situation follows years of struggle for the senior centers. State grants-in-aid have been cut and funding through the Department of Health — which has historically gone to two of the centers — has remained flat since 2003, officials say. The centers serve about 4,000 mostly low- to moderate-income seniors with activities and help signing up for services.

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Windward Chevy hits the brakes

Servco's Windward Chevrolet dealership confirmed yesterday that its dealer agreement with General Motors will not be renewed after October 2010.

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Hawgs have left

April 30 marked the last day you could buy a Harley on the Big Island. With the closure of both the Kona and Hilo Harley-Davidson dealerships, motorcycle enthusiasts islandwide will no longer be able to trade in their used bikes for new ones.

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State's Bottle Deposit Redemption At 77 Percent

Officials said the bad economy has more people returning their empties to get their nickels.

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The 2009 legislative session will be remembered as a time of missed opportunities. The Legislature chose to ignore key initiatives, rather than work collaboratively to find solutions to challenges facing our state.
Most disappointing was the Legislature's decision to overlook the will of the people of Hawai`i by raising taxes on our businesses and hard-working families; a move which will only harm Hawai‘i residents and delay our economic recovery.
My Administration proposed projects like the Highway Modernization Plan, Recreational Renaissance and Broadband Communications Initiative, which would have better prepared Hawai‘i for our future as well as spurred our economic recovery.
Fortunately, legislation is not the only way to implement innovative programs. My Administration is committed to moving these important initiatives forward using the resources we have, and will continue to improve the quality of life for all the people of Hawai`i.
Mahalo.  This is Governor Linda Lingle.
The Governor’s Weekly Radio Address airs at various times throughout the week on radio stations statewide.  To listen to this week’s address or to hear past addresses, visit the Governor’s Web site at



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