Prepare for life to get a lot more expensive (Thanks, Hawaii Democrats!)
Real property taxes, hotel room taxes, conveyance taxes, income taxes, cigarette taxes and taxes on gasoline all are going up on Wednesday, July 1.
The start of the new fiscal year also launches a slew of tax and fee increases passed by lawmakers who faced some of the toughest budgeting decisions anyone can remember.
"The scope and scale of these tax increases -- I've never seen this many and this large amount of tax increases piled upon the public," said City Councilman Charles Djou, a frequent critic of government spending.
Schools' hands tied over budget (BoE irresponsibility creates chaos)
Uncertainty over the state public schools budget — and inaction by the state Board of Education on $226.8 million in cuts for the upcoming school year — has school principals saying they are unable to fully prepare for doors to open about four weeks from now.
Twice in as many weeks, board members have postponed any decision on where to cut their budget, opting instead to wait for more clarity from the governor and courts on what reductions will be required.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, with teachers and administrators scheduled to return to school on July 28 and students returning two days later.
The inaction on the part of the Board of Education has drawn criticism from lawmakers and educators.
Board members should make a decision with the information available to them so schools can prepare, said Rep. Roy Takumi, the chairman of the state House Education Committee.
"No other department is taking a wait-and-see attitude," Takumi said.
(Lets start by eliminating the BoE and making the DoE a State Department responsible to the Governor. That alone will save 100s of millions)
Amazon poised to cut affiliate program in Hawaii (taxes kill small businesses)
Amazon.com Inc., the largest Internet retailer, may terminate its affiliate program in Hawaii in which state residents with Web sites earn money by linking shoppers with Amazon.com or sister site Endless.com.
Amazon also will collect taxes on e-commerce purchases by Hawaii consumers who go directly to the sites, if Gov. Linda Lingle does not veto House Bill 1405, which seeks to tax out-of-state businesses on business activities in Hawaii.
The company already has cut ties with affiliates in North Carolina, which has drafted similar legislation.
Lingle signs three energy measures
The measures Lingle signed Thursday would:
Require electric utility companies to produce at least 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020 and at least 40 percent by 2030 (HB 1464).
Require 1 percent of parking spaces in most public lots be reserved for electric vehicles by Dec. 31, 2011 (SB 1202).
Revise Hawai'i's renewable energy tax credit to try to attract more private investment in that area (SB 464).
"These new laws will help free Hawai'i from the grip of our foreign oil addiction," said Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Blue Planet Foundation, which lobbied for the measures.
Mikulina and others are still waiting to see whether Lingle signs HB 1271, which would increase the tax on a barrel of imported oil by $1. The hike is expected to generate more than $30 million annually to fund
clean-energy and food-security initiatives paid propagandist positions for the eco-loons who have destroyed agriculture and fisheries in Hawai'i.
Advertiser: Enforcing conservation rules a challenge
Anti-Superferry protester Rep. Morita: HB 1271 Most significant energy bill awaits Lingle’s signature (tries to peddle barrel tax)
“This is the most significant bill we are passing out of the Legislature this year,” she said Thursday evening during the Apollo Kaua‘i meeting at the Lihu‘e Civic Center. “It is the lynch pin to everything that we’re doing because if we don’t get the funding, everything falls apart.”
(And that is exactly why it should be vetoed--so their socialist scheme falls apart)
The primary purpose of the bill is to help Hawai‘i achieve energy and food self-sufficiency.
The bill says it would “make various amendments, establish various initiatives and appropriate funds to promote economic development for local food and energy businesses, ensuring that Hawai‘i is energy and food self-sufficient and sustainable to the maximum extent feasible.”
Approximately 85 percent of the state’s food and 95 percent of its energy are imported and it is estimated that $8.6 billion was spent last year on importing food and oil, according to the legislation.
HB 1271 also says Hawai‘i only has enough supply of fresh produce to last no more than 10 days; and 90 percent of beef, 76 percent of fresh vegetables, 65 percent of fresh fruits and 70 percent of milk are imported.
(And so after blocking the Superferry and raising taxes and serving the tort bar, Moritia wants to "save" agriculture from the lack of a Superferry the high taxes and the high insurance fees.)
Kalapa: Pay cut better than no paycheck at all
The general fund is really at the heart of the problem as it represents nearly half of the total state budget or about $5.4 billion of spending for each year of the fiscal biennium. While there are other resources for the general fund, the bulk of the proceeds comes from taxes. Thus, when the Council on Revenues revised its forecast of general fund tax revenues downwards creating more than a $2 billion shortfall, that hole represented more than 20 percent of all state general fund spending for the next two years. And it appears that actual tax collections may sink even lower before this fiscal year is over.
To raise $1 billion per year from current general fund tax resources, rates would have to be increased to generate another 25 percent in general fund tax collections. But raising taxes by that amount in a slumping economy probably won’t generate anywhere near the amount needed because of the slower economic pace. Thus, state officials have very few options for generating additional revenues despite the call by the public employee unions for an increase in taxes.
Father faces 20 years for daughter's injuries
If he gets the life sentence, he will have to spend at least 20 years in prison before he is eligible for parole because he has three prior felony convictions.
Eli pleaded guilty in 2004 to first-degree assault and two counts of carrying a firearm without a permit. He was on parole for those convictions when he injured his daughter.
He also has convictions for misdemeanor abuse of a family or household member in 2000 and 2003.
Sarah Fuller, the girl's mother and Eli's girlfriend, testified that Eli threw the girl to the third row seat of the van from the second row, threw her down hard on the second row seat and threw the child seat on top of her on Oct. 24, 2007 at Ala Moana Beach Park.
Fuller said she and Eli were arguing over her intention to leave him and to call off their wedding. She said Eli blamed the baby for Fuller's change of heart.
(And the soft-on-crime court system is to blame for this person being out on the streets in the first place)
Tomorrow, city to begin clearing Nanakuli coast stretch of longtime camps
Years ago, Kawaauhao lived on the mountain side of Farrington Highway, directly across from Depots Beach. Today, she recognizes some of the same faces she remembers seeing back then. She and Bernard are with the U.S. Veterans Initiative, the organization that operates the Wai'anae Civic Center emergency shelter in Wai'anae.
"If you are interested in getting off the beach, out of the parks and into a facility where you can begin rebuilding your life, let one of our outreach workers know," the fliers state. "We can assist you today."
But those who have remained on the beaches since the Wai'anae shelter opened on March 1, 2007, are less eager to enter the program than were the newly homeless families who accepted help two years ago. Many remaining beach dwellers are single, middle aged and independent. They are of the type referred to as the chronic homeless.
"I've been on this beach at least a good seven, eight years," said one Depots Beach dweller, who identified himself as Mike B. "I'm trying to make my situation go from worse to better, not better to worse."
Matson-union deal averts strike
Matson Navigation Co. and three unions avoided a widespread shipping strike yesterday after reaching a tentative agreement on a four-year contract for ship captains, officers, radio operators and engineers.
Advertiser: Matson strike is over