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Monday, September 10, 2012
September 10, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:49 PM :: 4875 Views

Tax Review Commission Proposes Gambling, Pension Tax, and a Grab for Rail Tax

Lingle: Congress Must Lead on Jobs, Hirono has no Plan

Bill Too High? Richard Ha to Address Kona TEA Party

Final EIS for Kihei HS Released

SA: Rein in state's solar tax credits

SA Editorial: State legislators were warned in their past session that generous tax credits for installation of solar systems would reduce the state's revenue far beyond what had been expected but took no action to adjust them. The warning bells now are loud and clear: The Legislature should revisit the issue in its coming session in response to a forecast that the state's tax revenue would be crippled in its attempt at economic recovery.

The state Council on Revenues reported in May that the proposed 35 percent state income tax credit for homeowners and businesses that install photovoltaic systems would result in the loss of about $70 million in annual tax revenues, with the overall revenue growth forecast dropping from 7.5 percent two months earlier to 5.3 percent.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reported to the council Thursday that the annual cost in fiscal 2012 would rise to $173.8 million, with growth slipping to 4.9 percent, because of solar tax credits….

Fred Pablo, the state tax director, is expected to issue temporary rules within a month that could restrict the solar tax credit beginning in January "to make sure there's clarity and fairness to all taxpayers." Current law sets a maximum tax credit for solar installment, so Pablo can impose a lesser credit, if any.

Those temporary rules notwithstanding, though, it really falls on state legislators to make the needed changes and to clearly direct the solar credit policy.

In order to help stabilize the state budget process, the Legislature must revisit the issue, including a proposal to limit solar tax credits to one unit per property instead of credits for subsequent systems on the same property. Some prefer a gradual reduction of the tax credit for each system.

read … About Where your Tax money is going

VIDEO: City recognizes first responders in 9/11 Remembrance Walk

KITV: Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle led a somber procession through Downtown Honolulu Sunday night to honor those killed in the September 11th terror attacks.

Marchers paid a special tribute to the courageous first responders.

"What the first responders did was they braved absolutely unequivocally death. Some of them met death. And yet they were willing to go forward and do their jobs professionally, courageously. And for that we all have to be always, always grateful and inspired," said Carlisle.

Near the Eternal Flame, the Royal Hawaiian band paid homage and representatives of police, fire, Emergency Medical Services and city services remembered their fallen colleagues.

KHON: Kokohead 9/11 remembrance hike

Read … Remembrance Walk

Secularists Launch New Attack on St Damien, St Marianne

SA: "The perception has always been that everybody there was immoral and lawless," said Anwei Skinsnes Law, who has been studying the history of the Kalaupapa peninsula for 40 years. "Letters from administrators said they were vagabonds and murderers. When you include the voices of the people who were actually sent there, it tells a much different story. When you just don't rely on English sources, the history becomes much more complete."

The translations do not detract from the noble work of Saint Damien or Mother Marianne Cope, who will become Hawaii's second saint Oct. 21 when she is canonized in Rome, Law said.

"None of this changes the perception of Damien or Marianne," Law said. "It just tells a more complete story." (You can always tell what they are doing by what they deny.)

2009: Secular Humanists push back against St Damien

2011: Colette Machado: I look at Kalaupapa--Native Hawaiians will fight against Assisted Suicide

read … About Cowards Rewriting History

Could Public Land Corp's No-Bid Contract Policy Lead To Sweetheart Deals?

CB: Companies seeking to develop projects on state lands aren’t required to go through a competitive bidding process under recently proposed rules that would govern Hawaii’s controversial Public Land Development Corporation.

And experts on public-private partnerships say that could lead to corruption, favoritism and bloated contracts that could prove costly for taxpayers.

“If there’s no competition at all, then the risk is that of corruption, that someone will find a sweetheart contractor to deal with and these sweetheart contractors will inflate the price,” said Edward Lozowicki, a San Francisco attorney with expertise in construction law and public-private partnerships. “That’s the whole reason to have competitive bidding, to avoid corruption and favoritism.” ….

Public-private partnerships are a growing national trend, with states increasingly teaming up with private companies to help shore up aging infrastructure, develop state projects more efficiently and provide greater access to capital, according to Richard Norment, executive director for The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships.

The PLDC’s rules have yet to be finalized, but its staff announced in July that three projects were being pursued: developing farmland in the Ewa plain, making capital improvements at Olomana Golf Course on Oahu and extending a land permit for a bee farmer by hundreds of acres.

PLDC staff have met privately with production company Relativity Media about building a sound stage on the Ewa property, as well as Actus Lend Lease, which is interested in building workforce housing.

read … Some Questions Answer Themselves

Congress returns for short pre-election session

SA: When lawmakers return to Washington on Monday, they face big issues, including taxes, spending cuts and the prospect of a debilitating "fiscal cliff" in January. Yet Congress is expected to do what it often does best: punt problems to the future.

With Election Day less than two months away, their focus seems to be on the bare minimum — preventing a government shutdown when the budget year ends Sept. 30.

Democrats controlling the Senate and their House GOP rivals also will also try to set up votes intended to score political points or paint the other side with an unflattering brush two months before the election.

read … Minimal Damage

Gabbard: National Money Will Be Dumped into Hawaii

SA: U.S. House candidate Tulsi Gabbard weighed in on Republican "obstructionism," the influx of outside funding to Hawaii races, the future of the U.S. military in Afghanistan and other topics during a two-hour appearance on the MSNBC program “Up With Chris Hayes” this afternoon.

Gabbard was part of a panel of guests in New York that included Facebook co-founder and New Republic owner Chris Hughes, Jeremy Scahill of The Nation, Sasha Issenberg of Slate, political scientist Jacob Hacker of Yale University, author Peter Beinart, Michelle Goldberg of TheDailyBeast.com, political columnist Walter Shapiro and political consultant Bob Shrum.

Gabbard eased into the conversation (she was in over her head) with a measured take on Senate opposition to the Obama administration, assuring viewers that a new wave of congressional legislators — of which she hopes to be a part — is looking forward to “bringing back the statesmanship” that has eroded in recent years due to bipartisan skirmishing.

Later, following up on host Chris Hayes’ suggestion that the focus on the presidential race might be diverting attention from “down-ballot” races, Gabbard opined that mobilizing voters would be critical in negating the influence of out-of-state money in deciding contests like Mazie Hirono and Linda Lingle’s battle for outgoing U.S. Daniel Akaka’s seat.

“Turnout is going to be key,” Gabbard said. “There’s going to be a substantial amount of money nationally that’s going to be dumped into this race.”

read … Gabbard appears on MSNBC political talk show

Congressional Perkins: Career and technical education is critical to Hawaii and U.S. success

KCC Chancellor: In order to continue to prepare students for the workforce, we need congressional support and funding from the national level. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is the primary source of federal funding for CTE programs. It builds the capacity for academically rigorous instruction aligned to the needs of business and industry. Perkins supports innovation and expands access to quality CTE programs.

The Basic State Grants in Perkins are distributed to CTE programs at the secondary and postsecondary level for a variety of activities, including strengthening the integration of academics and CTE, promoting linkages between secondary and postsecondary programs, purchasing equipment to ensure that classrooms have the latest technology, providing CTE "programs of study" that create a seamless education pathway for students and supporting career and technical education student organizations.

In 2011, Perkins was slashed by $140 million after years of stagnant federal funding. When our national focus is on creating new jobs, training workers for jobs available now and growing the economy, cutting federal support for CTE is a move in the wrong direction.

It is essential that Congress provide a strong investment in Perkins in order to prepare students for today's high-wage, high-skill and high-demand career fields.

read … Message to Congressional Delegation

Solution on hold in Lanai water dispute

SA: A legal dispute over the water source for a Lanai golf course that has spanned more than two decades has been kept alive by a state appeals court ruling that could mean more litigation for months, if not years.

A group called Lanaians for Sensible Growth is challenging developer Castle & Cooke Resorts LLC's irrigation of the Manele Bay luxury 18-hole course with water from the island's high-level aquifer.

Castle & Cooke's lawyers say the case involves the very existence of the nearly 20-year-old golf course, which provides jobs and helps the island's economy.

Reality: Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court

read … Ellison Discovers the Real Hawaii

Retroactive Tariffs erase firm's savings on solar panels

SA: An official from Hilo-based ProVision Solar plans to join dozens of other businesses at a hearing in Washington, D.C., next month to testify that tariffs being levied on imported Chinese solar panels are doing more harm than good to the U.S. economy.

The U.S. Commerce Department in June hit Pro­Vision Solar and an estimated 100 other companies around the country with retroactive tariffs on photovoltaic modules as part of an anti-dumping case against Chinese manufacturers.

ProVision's owners made what they thought was a relatively modest purchase of low-cost Chinese solar panels for customers looking for a more affordable option for getting PV systems on their roofs. They ended up caught in the middle of a trade spat between U.S. and Chinese manufacturers.

ProVision's order for nearly 300 panels from a company in Jiangsu province arrived in March, costing roughly $54,000. On June 6, ProVision's owners received a letter from the Commerce Department and were stunned to learn that they were on the hook for an additional $138,000 in tariffs due to a May 17 preliminary anti-dumping decision.

read … Retroactive

Act 221 Scammers Spread Money Around

MN: In 2011, Federal MEP clients had a combined increase in sales of $12.5 million and created 74 new jobs.

“INNOVATE Hawaii will continue to support the development and growth of the local commercial high tech industry, manufacturing community, and Governor Abercrombie’s New Day Initiative,” Nagashima said.

“INNOVATE Hawaii unites HSBIR and HTDC-MEP to form a new program that honors previous goals, while focusing on innovation and next generation products.”

In addition, INNOVATE Hawaii is accepting application (until June 30, 2013) from businesses consultants interested in offering various business services to the HTDC-MEP program and its clients.

Business consultants, technology service providers and more can apply by visiting the State’s Procurement Notices for Solicitation website and search for RFP-13-004-HTDC.

INNOVATE Hawaii is also offering free one-hour consultation with one of these business development experts.

To learn more about INNOVATE Hawaii, call (808) 539-3806 or visit: http://www.INNOVATEHawaii.org.

read … About How to get Yours

 

FACE Organizes for Wahiawa Center for Community Health

SA: Pascua is one of thousands of uninsured people living in Wahiawa, many of whom travel for hours on The Bus to health centers in town or in Waianae to access the services they need.

But members of the grassroots organization Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE) are trying to change that. They have been working for the past year to lay the groundwork for a new community health center, with funding from the Health Resources & Services Administration through the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The project has received widespread support from government officials, community group, and health providers, including Wahiawa General Hospital. Twenty-three groups, including the hospital, wrote letters of support for the FACE's HRSA grant application.

Nakata said the latest donation from United Healthcare Community Plan of Hawaii follows similar donations from Ohana Care and Aloha Care.

read … Wahiawa

Occupy Claims Federal Ruling Brings Honolulu Homeless Belongings Ban Into Question

CB: Hawaii is under the 9th Circuit's jurisdiction, but Honolulu legal experts say the city ordinance is different in a number of important ways from the Los Angeles policy and practice.

But Occupy Honolulu protester Andy Smith said the ruling offers a beacon of hope. (And we all know that Occupiers are far more intelligent than lawyers.)

read … If Occupy says so

Marianas Pension Fund Could be Plum Job for Honolulu Attorney

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