UH regents likely to vote on new president today
Hawaii tax revenues dropping much lower than predicted
Another ominous sign for the state budget: Revenue collections are coming in even lower than the state Council on Revenues predicted.
Collections through the first 11 months of the fiscal year are off by 9.8 percent, according to the state Department of Taxation. That is lower than the 9 percent decline estimated by the council for the fiscal year that ends this month.
Unless collections rebound, the state will be an additional $36 million short at the end of the month. Gov. Linda Lingle has already said she will delay paying $130 million worth of bills this month to avoid a deficit, but may have to take other steps if revenues fall further.
Mufia Hannemann moves closer to bid for governor
At an off-work meeting with cabinet members and supporters tonight, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann authorized supporters to form an exploratory committee for his run for governor in 2010.
According to sources, Hannemann told his supporters that while he is still considering whether he should run for Congress, governor or stay in office, he has been getting donations for a run for governor.
In 1986, Hannemann beat Abercrombie in the Democratic primary election to fill the term of U.S. Rep. Cec Heftel, but Abercrombie won the special election to fill the spot for two months. Republican Pat Saiki later defeated Hannemann for the regular two-year term.
Hannemann also lost to Patsy Mink in a 2nd Congressional District race in 1990.
Legislators' safety net may not work next year
If Gov. Linda Lingle continues with furloughs or is blocked by the public sector unions and goes ahead with threatened layoffs, the 45,000 public workers will not look at the Legislature and say "Thanks, we needed that."
And if Lingle heeds the union's call and orders the Legislature back into town to raise taxes, the rest of the state will not be looking to erect statues of the current 76 legislators.
With the budget only a source of fear and irritation, the Legislature this year then turned to social issues, managing to alternately scare and provoke both sides in the same-sex marriage issue.
First they said they will and then they said they won't approve civil unions for same-sex couples and then they looked like they might, as the state Senate toyed with the idea before falling back on the usual promise to study it.
Those who say civil unions are closer to same-sex marriage than anything they would approve don't trust the Legislature, while those who have waited and lobbied for years for civil unions feel they also have been misled.
Given this climate, when the Legislature assembles on Jan. 20, 2010, getting a quorum and finding 76 to show their faces may be the toughest vote.
Councilman Duke Bainum dies
RELATED: City Council to hold special election within 60 days
Bainum was also managing director of the holding company for Diamond Bank of Murfreesboro in Arkansas.
Mark Edmund Bainum was born on July 21, 1952, in Maryland, the younger of two sons of Irvin and Evea Bainum. He grew up in Arkansas where his father was a banker.
He received his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in 1980, and served his surgical residency at the University of Hawaii from 1980-82. He also attended the Western Regional Banking School in 2000, and the UH Public Administration program in 1989-1990.
Bainum made his nickname “Duke” part of his legal name in 1987.
He married Hilo native Jennifer Ann Harumi Toma on Feb. 14, 2004. Each were married twice previously.
He is survived by his brother, Tim Bainum, their mother, Evea Bainum, wife Jennifer and two sons, Z and Kona.
Advertiser: Councilmember Duke Bainum dies
Statement from Mayor Mufi Hannemann (9:59 a.m.)
Statement from Councilmember Charles Djou (9:52 a.m.)
City Council prepares to pile on more taxes
The Council's Budget Committee approved Hannemann's proposal of a 30-cent increase last month, placing it at $3.59 per $1,000 of property valuation.
But the rate, as well as a proposed tax credit to help offset the tax increase, will be debated today with amendments proposed by various members of the Council.
"I believe the budget that we have presented to them is about as clear, as consistent and probably the most fiscally conservative budget that has ever gone to the City Council," Hannemann said last week in response to the proposed amendments. "For the life of me, I can't understand why this has become so complicated and controversial for some Council members."
Maui News Polls 'Islam Day'
66% against 9% for 25% undec
OHA Audit: Risks to Kau Inoa personal info. not considered
The report, issued Monday, found that major information technology components were "dispersed throughout OHA without focused oversight and coordination."
A strong, centralized information technology authority is necessary, the report said. "Without such guidance, OHA faces an increased risk of wasted time and resources as well as the inability to react quickly and effectively to information requirements posed by the changing needs of the organization," the audit said.
Higa pointed out that in contracting out the Kau Inoa program designed to create a registry of Native Hawaiians, "OHA did not consider the risks involved in lodging custody of personal information to an external entity," the auditor said.
While the program has not run into security problems, it was a situation that deserved stronger upper management guidance, Higa said.
Audit Full Text: http://tinyurl.com/mgdktu
State employee furlough plan could affect Big Island courts
The governor's plan to keep workers at home three days a month to help erase a budgetary shortfall doesn't apply to the Judiciary, which is a separate branch of government. Lingle has said, however, she will ask the Judiciary and Legislative branches, as well as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, to furlough employees.
County prosecutors would not be affected by Lingle's plan.
The state Public Defender's office, however, is run by the Department of Budget and Finance, part of the executive branch, and is finalizing plans to furlough full-time employees the first three Fridays of each month.
Care-home transfers may harm seniors
They hope to prevent cases such as that of a man on the Big Island who died recently from a "broken heart" after he could no longer live in the same care home with his wife of 50 years.
People familiar with the case say the man got depressed and refused to eat after being moved to a different community care foster home because of state regulations that limit who can stay in such facilities.
There are about 900 community care foster homes statewide, which serve a maximum of three seniors each. The homes were intended to serve mostly seniors who rely on Medicaid. The state allows only one "private pay" senior, or those who pay out of their own pocket, per home. At least two of the three beds per home must be reserved for Medicaid recipients.
The separation of married couples becomes a problem in cases where both the husband and wife are "private pay."
Company asks to delay Ookala project again
HILO -- A company trying to harvest eucalyptus and operate a veneer plant in Ookala is asking the state for a break on its penalty payments, following another postponement of its starting date.
Tradewinds Forest Products was originally slated to open a veneer plant creating 100 new jobs in 2005. That date's been bumped at least three times, with opening now envisioned sometime in the next two years.