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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Complete List of 2012 Gut and Replace Bills
By Grassroot Institute @ 3:55 AM :: 4916 Views :: Energy, Environment

In the 2012 Legislative Session alone, the Grassroot Institute discovered that approximately three dozen bills had been given the “gut and replace” treatment....

Read More..
Monday, February 27, 2012
SB2226: $25M Internet Tax
By Grassroot Institute @ 2:26 PM :: 4622 Views :: Energy, Environment

The Tax Foundation of Hawaii cautions that this tax money is not "free money" and would come directly out of the pockets of Hawaii consumers....

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Institute for Justice Attorney, IWF Leader to Speak in Honolulu
By Grassroot Institute @ 8:28 PM :: 7715 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

Clark's topic of discussion is: "IJ Case Stories and How and Why They Take These No Fee Cases". Nicole will discuss the "History of Women in the Liberty Movement in America and How Government Hurts Women".

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Friday, August 26, 2011
Conservative? Inouye, Akaka are Zeroes, but Hirono, Hanabusa score 10%
By Grassroot Institute @ 4:43 PM :: 5979 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

How conservative are Hawaii’s Senators and Congresswomen?

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Saturday, July 23, 2011
College? Give Choice a Voice
By Grassroot Institute @ 7:19 AM :: 5868 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

The time has come for parents to think about their children’s future plans and decide if the university system is a viable option.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Hawaii 2011 Pork Report points to DoE Embezzlement
By Grassroot Institute @ 12:55 PM :: 5500 Views :: Energy, Environment

Today, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii announced the publication of the 2011 Pork Report, an examination of state spending that reveals the depth of government waste and inefficiency that has contributed so much to the State’s economic woes.

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Friday, June 10, 2011
Is More Better? Education Spending Increases in Hawaii
By Grassroot Institute @ 1:42 AM :: 4507 Views :: Energy, Environment

Hawaii’s per pupil expenditure climbed to $12,399 in 2009, ranking it as the 11th highest in the nation, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report. This new rate marks a 12% increase compared to the previous year.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011
$600 million in New Taxes
By Grassroot Institute @ 9:59 PM :: 4894 Views :: Energy, Environment

These $600 million in increased taxes come even while state legislators might be finagling a pay raise for themselves—if House Bill 575 is vetoed on constitutionality grounds, legislators would get 12 percent pay raises, administrators 17 percent, and judges a 28.5 percent increase in salary.

Governor Abercrombie promised “A New Day in Hawaii”. Seems like business is same old, same old.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011
Hawaii Government agencies are tops in DC lobbying
By Grassroot Institute @ 9:56 PM :: 5617 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

in the first quarter of the year, government agencies in Hawaii spent more money lobbying in Washington, D.C. than private business did....  Hawaii state and local government spent about $185,000 on D.C. lobbying, compared to about $122,500 from Hawaii's private businesses over the same period.... the biggest state spenders were the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (which continues to push for the Akaka Bill) and InfraConsult, Inc. (which lobbies on behalf of Honolulu's rapid transit project). 

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Thursday, May 12, 2011
Honolulu Cellphone Ban: You can Walk the walk, but don’t talk the talk
By Grassroot Institute @ 8:19 PM :: 5619 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12

Honolulu City Council has got to have more important things to focus on than regulating and restricting yet another aspect of our lives.

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Friday, May 6, 2011
SB120: Legislators authorize raid of more than $17 million in special funds
By Grassroot Institute @ 6:14 PM :: 4609 Views :: Energy, Environment

In Senate Bill 120, it states that there are many special funds “in excess of the requirements” of those funds. The director of finance has up until June 30, 2011, to raid all of that “excess” money, amounting to more than $17 million, and put it into the general fund. 

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Hawaii citizens missed some lawmakers’ bullets; bit others
By Grassroot Institute @ 2:40 PM :: 4308 Views :: Energy, Environment

The best that can be said about this session is what bills did NOT survive, such as: a 1 percent increase in the general excise tax; a 10-cent fee for a plastic or paper bag to carry consumer purchases; tax-free pensions that will now remain untaxed; Lanai and Molokai will not be covered with windmills to produce power for Oahu, saving Hawaii taxpayers an estimated $3 billion on an intra-island, under-water cable; and competition for shipping services that did not get eliminated as was included in a Public Utilities Commission clarification bill.

Read More..
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Whirlwind legislative session draws to a close May 5
By Grassroot Institute @ 10:07 PM :: 5122 Views :: Energy, Environment

On Thursday, May 5, the last votes will be taken and the regular 2011 session will come to a close.

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Friday, April 22, 2011
Newsflash: DAGS releases comprehensive fiscal report for 2009
By Grassroot Institute @ 6:58 PM :: 4795 Views :: Energy, Environment

How can the people, or even legislators really know what is currently going on financially with the state when the Department of Accounting and General Services takes nearly 2 years to release its comprehensive annual fiscal reports?

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
SB99: Preserve Young Bros Monopoly on Inter-Island Shipping
By Grassroot Institute @ 8:27 PM :: 8685 Views :: Kauai County, DHHL, Energy, Environment

PUC--"This bill would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for companies to gain entry into the water carrier market in Hawaii….”

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Friday, April 15, 2011
Creative Accounting 101: Special Fund Raids
By Grassroot Institute @ 10:45 PM :: 4975 Views :: Energy, Environment

After the second crossover this week, 393 bills are still alive at the Legislature as lawmakers are trying to find every means possible to come up with a balanced budget, even ways that stand a good chance of being challenged in court....

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011
How They Voted: SB1329 House passes Motor Vehicle tax Hike
By Grassroot Institute @ 7:26 PM :: 4625 Views :: Energy, Environment

Senate Bill 1329 in its current form will increase the cost to register an average car, which weighs up to 4,000 pounds, from $30 to $70 per year.

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Friday, April 8, 2011
Government workers’ agreement to add more than $100 million to state deficit
By Grassroot Institute @ 3:50 PM :: 4759 Views :: Energy, Environment

The HGEA contract, which will not be made available to the public until long after it is passed, does not reduce the state budget, but based on what the union representatives and the governor have reported thus far, it will increase the cost of government by more than $100 million.

Read More..
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
SB1363: Bag Tax to be heard Today
By Grassroot Institute @ 1:42 PM :: 3667 Views :: Energy, Environment

At 4 p.m., the House Finance Committee will be hearing testimony on Senate Bill 1363....

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Monday, April 4, 2011
HB793: Hikes GE Tax 25%, eliminates exemptions, Hearing Wednesday
By Grassroot Institute @ 12:43 PM :: 5552 Views :: Energy, Environment

The public will be able to testify on HB793 SD 1 (Proposed) in a scheduled hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Wed. April 6, 2011, 9:30 a.m. in Conference Room 211 at the State Capitol.

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Friday, April 1, 2011
HB1049: Raid on Hurricane Fund to Trigger 7.5% Tax on Premiums?
By Grassroot Institute @ 3:22 PM :: 4662 Views :: Energy, Environment

 If the moneys in the hurricane reserve fund are insufficient to pay claims and other obligations when an event occurs, the fund “shall levy a surcharge not to exceed seven and one-half percent a year on premiums charged for all property and casualty insurance policies issued for risks insured in this State.”

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Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tax Freedom Day in Hawaii: April 6
By Grassroot Institute @ 12:27 PM :: 4235 Views :: Energy, Environment

Ninety-six. That is the number of days one must work each year in Hawaii to pay Uncle Sam before taking home their hard-earned dollars. That means the first three months of the year you work not for yourself, but for the government. This number includes federal, state, and local taxes, for a grand total of 26.3% of your income.

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Monday, March 28, 2011
SB605: Legislators to raise Salary Caps for DoE Bureaucrats?
By Grassroot Institute @ 1:12 PM :: 5640 Views :: Energy, Environment

To address an estimated state budget shortfall of more than $1.3 billion over the current fiscal biennium, the Department of Education (DOE) is in the process of closing down schools, explaining to the public that such steps will save a few hundred thousand dollars per school....

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Thursday, March 17, 2011
The Future of the Grassroot Institute
By Grassroot Institute @ 9:39 PM :: 3779 Views

In the meantime, I will take over as acting president and keep the GRIH ship on course. - Dick Rowland

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Thursday, March 17, 2011
HB1300: Legislature takes its time abolishing a law that it says is ‘devastating’ to business
By Grassroot Institute @ 6:46 PM :: 4472 Views :: Energy, Environment

”While Act 196 achieved one of its purposes–-to generate a one-time windfall of revenue to the state–-the long-term effect has been to hinder Hawaii's economic recovery by placing an undue burden on the business sector.”

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011
$550M tax increases among 710 Crossover Bills
By Grassroot Institute @ 4:14 PM :: 4650 Views :: Energy, Environment

The good news is with the first crossover of bills in the state Legislature, the number of bills remaining alive has been reduced from 3,224 to 710 bills....

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Friday, March 4, 2011
HB1529 Government Planning? Leg considers bill asking Governor to convene task force to write report
By Grassroot Institute @ 11:34 AM :: 3856 Views :: Energy, Environment

House Bill 1529 seems to give hope to the idea that there should be an overall plan for state government. Unfortunately, the idea is to set up a task force to be convened by the governor and made up of mostly lawmakers to review and report on what is going on with the state.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Jamie Story leaving Grassroot Institute
By Grassroot Institute @ 2:43 PM :: 6403 Views :: Energy, Environment

The Grassroot Institute's outstanding board of directors, led by Dick Rowland, the man who started GRIH and allowed me to serve all these years, already has begun an extensive search for my successor. I trust they will find someone capable of carrying on this vital work....

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Monday, February 28, 2011
SB120—Special Funds Repeal--amended after 800 pages of testimony
By Grassroot Institute @ 6:59 PM :: 4221 Views :: Energy, Environment

Senate Bill 120 was originally written to repeal 148 special funds. Although there were 800 pages of testimony submitted on the original version of the bill, no action was taken at the public hearing on Feb. 10, 2011. Then, on Feb. 25, the Ways and Means Committee (WAM) rewrote the bill....

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Friday, February 25, 2011
$3.48M sat for 9 years after photo enforcement law repealed
By Grassroot Institute @ 1:48 PM :: 4723 Views :: Energy, Environment

...how is that 9 years have lapsed since the legislative directive to transfer the funds was given? Who is supposed to be overseeing these kinds of funds and how many more dormant funds from repealed laws exist?

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011
HB1545 to be heard tomorrow: Hawaii Legislators’ frozen bread bill
By Grassroot Institute @ 2:19 PM :: 4746 Views :: Energy, Environment

If you search the word “label” on the Hawaii state legislative Web site, 30 results show up, thus confirming the fact that our lawmakers are definitely in the “label” business.

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Friday, February 18, 2011
Ban-Happy Legislators’ toy bills take aim at novelty lighters, sky lanterns, foie gras, and ‘light pollution’
By Grassroot Institute @ 11:02 AM :: 5911 Views :: Energy, Environment

Our legislators have been busy this session introducing many bills that ban unusual items, or impose taxes, fees, restrictions and mandates on specific product choices for the people of Hawaii.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011
SB1449 Hearing Saturday: Hawaii Sunset Advisory Commission to assess Government Agencies
By Grassroot Institute @ 1:33 AM :: 5373 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment

The committee(s) on Public Safety, Government Operations, and Military Affairs has rescheduled its public hearing to Saturday, 2-12-2011 at 10 a.m. in conference room 229.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011
SB1425: Legislative Committee to discuss banning all Oahu Landfills
By Grassroot Institute @ 12:53 PM :: 5335 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment

According to Senate Bill 1425, relating to banning the acceptance of solid waste in landfills, no landfill in a county with a population greater than or less than 500,000 residents, will be allowed to accept deliveries of municipal solid waste - beginning  July 1, 2012, for Honolulu, and for the smaller counties, a date to be determined by their councils.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011
House Bills would end Hawaii’s practice of Counting Blank Ballots as ‘no’ votes
By Grassroot Institute @ 12:32 PM :: 2974 Views :: Energy, Environment

This session, 3 bills introduced by Republicans and Democrats, are seeking to not count blank votes, over votes or spoiled votes when it comes to the outcome of proposed amendments to the Hawaii constitution.

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Friday, February 4, 2011
SB 197: Senate Committee to debate Dim Bulbs Feb 8
By Grassroot Institute @ 9:53 PM :: 4109 Views :: Energy, Environment

With this energy efficiency bonus however comes the problem of disposing of fluorescent and CFL bulbs in landfills. Enter 2 more bills – which put mandates on disposing the CFL bulbs by retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. Senate Bill 197 mandates companies that sell the CFL bulbs submit a plan to the Legislature by 1/1/2012 on how to manage the waste. And then there’s House Bill 1527 that requires retailers and wholesalers to accept used light bulbs for recycling from customers.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011
SB715: Repeal Ethanol Mandate to be heard Thursday
By Grassroot Institute @ 7:56 PM :: 5464 Views :: Energy, Environment

Five years ago, Hawaii passed a law requiring that gasoline sold in the state must include 10 percent ethanol. The intent was “to provide energy independence from foreign oil, reduce statewide gasoline consumption, and establish industrial plants to produce ethanol locally.”

Fast forward to today and the intention of the law is shown to be a bust -- all of Hawaii’s ethanol comes from overseas and no ethanol plants have been built here. Because of this, Sen. Mike Gabbard has introduced a bill to repeal the 10 percent ethanol requirement for gasoline sold in Hawaii.

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Monday, January 31, 2011
HB48: Mandatory Voter Registration bill deferred
By Grassroot Institute @ 9:44 PM :: 6987 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment

The bill says that every qualified applicant “is required to authorize the attorney general to collect and transmit the necessary personal information required for registering the qualified applicant with the county clerk.”

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Monday, January 31, 2011
Pension Report puts Hawaii in a Bad Moody
By Grassroot Institute @ 9:19 PM :: 7669 Views :: Energy, Environment

 Along with Massachusetts and Connecticut, Hawaii leads the country with the highest ratio of bonded debt to personal income as well as having some of the highest long-term debt as a percentage of the state gross domestic product.

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Friday, January 28, 2011
Bills would spend $4B on roads, bridges
By Grassroot Institute @ 1:23 PM :: 4419 Views :: Energy, Environment

The DOT has a bill in both the Senate (SB1131) and House (HB1531) that calls for $4 billion for a 6-year plan to provide safer and well maintained roads and bridges statewide. This is a far cry from the current $250 million funding per year the department gets to pay for the $7 billion in infrastructure and program needs it says currently exist.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011
The Real State of the State: An Uncensored Look at the Fiscal Challenges Facing Hawaii
By Grassroot Institute @ 10:58 PM :: 5218 Views :: Energy, Environment

Honolulu—Today the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii released the “The Real State of the State: An Uncensored Look at the Fiscal Challenges Facing Hawaii.” Responding to Governor Neil Abercrombie’s recent “State of the State” address which only scratched the surface, this illuminating expose dives deep into the evidence and causes of the state’s financial crisis.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011
SB819 would study Mileage Fee for Hawaii Motorists
By Grassroot Institute @ 6:58 PM :: 7027 Views :: Kauai County, DHHL, Energy, Environment

Thanks to the high cost of motor vehicle fuel--which in Hawaii includes the second highest gasoline taxes in the country at 63.5 cents per gallon--people have started buying alternative cars and cars which get better fuel mileage. The unintended consequence of increasing the cost of motor vehicle fuel is that there is less money going into the state coffers....

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Monday, January 24, 2011
Grassroot: “Disappointed by Abercrombie’s tax increases”
By Grassroot Institute @ 10:41 PM :: 3626 Views :: Energy, Environment

Governor Abercrombie referred to Hawaii as an “under-resourced and often dysfunctional democracy”. In the coming days the Grassroot Institute will release a report we call “The Real State of the State” detailing how the state government is far from under-resourced and extremely inefficient in its use of those resources.

Read More..
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
No Fiscal Notes: Hawaii Legislators shopping without price tags
By Grassroot Institute @ 9:59 PM :: 5060 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

...The Grassroot Institute applauds the House Minority Caucus for including fiscal note legislation in its 2011 legislative package....

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010
FULL TEXT: Hawaii Pork Report finds $300M in waste, abuse, and mismanagement
By Grassroot Institute @ 9:57 PM :: 6992 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Hawaii Statistics, Taxes

While Hawaii’s school children are subjected to Furlough Fridays and the state faces a record shortfall, the 2010 Hawaii Pork Report reveals that bureaucrats continue to spend taxpayer dollars in questionable ways. Co-authored by Hideo Hikida, Frances Nuar, and Jamie Story, the second annual report reveals more than $300 million in waste, abuse, and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.

Read More..
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