The Verified Complaint In Equity: The Declaration Of Independence
General Excise Tax Hits Charities Twice
IRS Probe of Kamehameha Schools work for Nai Aupuni Tribe?
Sitting on Unspent $540M, State DoT to Shut Down New Road Building in Gambit for Massive Tax Hike
SA: State Department of Transportation officials plan to defer hundreds of millions of dollars in long-awaited, major highway construction projects across the islands that were supposed to relieve traffic congestion so that they can focus more highway funding on maintaining existing roads….
Earlier this year the Ige administration proposed increases in the state’s gas tax, registration fee and weight tax, citing the need for more money to fund the department’s highway Capacity Program. Those proposed tax increases would have boosted the amount of annual funding for highways projects from about $300 million a year to $370 million, but lawmakers rejected a broad-based, election-year tax increase.
Ige said he will again ask lawmakers to approve the increases next year….
Last year Sniffen gave another reason that the state was shifting money away from major new construction projects in favor of relatively simple highway maintenance initiatives such as repaving and safety improvements. He said at the time that executing less complex maintenance projects would allow the state to spend federal highway funds more rapidly.
The Federal Highways Administration has strongly criticized the state for allowing a large pool of unspent federal dollars to build up. Federal officials warned the state in 2014 that unless Hawaii spent the money more quickly, it could lose federal highway funds.
The Ige administration says it has made great progress since then in spending those funds on highway projects. The state reduced the pool of unspent federal funds from a high of $940 million six years ago to less than $540 million at the end of May, Sniffen said….
Rep. Joy San Buenaventura, who also represents Puna residents, was more blunt.
“I think that this is blackmail,” she said. “This is extortion, I don’t see it any other way, because it’s been on the budget, they’ve never talked about this huge disparity before until now, and I think this is payback.”
San Buenaventura said she discussed the gasoline and other tax increases for highways with transportation officials who wanted her to vote for them during the last legislative session.
“The implication was my priorities for state highway funds, which is basically Highway 130, will be be deferred unless I voted with them,” she said. “They didn’t actually say it, but that was the implication.” ….
read … Roadwork choices: Cash crunch stalls plans
Roz Baker Supports NextEra Merger
SA: …The powerful Maui Democrat Sen. Roz Baker said she was disappointed.
”The process needs to be followed whereby someone in a PUC position is allowed to be carried over until the Legislature would come back into the session,” Baker said in an interview with Honolulu Star-Advertiser energy reporter Kathryn Mykleseth.
Critics say Gorak’s appointment is not proper and Champley should be considered a holdover PUC member until the Senate can act on his confirmation next year. Ige says nope, he has his own legal opinion saying all is good.
Gorak’s longevity on the PUC, however, may be measured in months, because there are no assurances the Senate will confirm him.
All this is driven by a governor who says he wants a PUC in step with his call for 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. Of course, the 100 renewable figure applies to a legal formula; it does not mean in 2045 no Hawaii power plants will be burning carbon-based fuel. Even in 2045 it is estimated that half of the electricity will coming from burning carbon-based material.
Also as far as pollution goes in Hawaii, it helps to remember that the largest emission source in the state is a decidedly active Kilauea volcano. The U.S. Geological Survey says it “by far generates the greatest air pollution impact statewide.”
Windmills and solar panels are cute — but if you want clean air in Hawaii, don’t go to the PUC, tell Madame Pele to cool it….
read … Ige makes own power play with move to fill PUC slot
Councilmembers Squabble over who will play Second Fiddle to Ernie Martin
SA: …Anderson has been second-in-command at the Council since he and Martin took over from then-Chairman Nestor Garcia and Vice Chairman Breene Harimoto in June 2011. He has been chairman of the Zoning and Planning Committee since it was created, merging the former Zoning and Planning committees, also in mid-2011. Before that, Anderson had served as either Zoning or Planning committee chairman since arriving on the Council in mid-2009.
Two separate resolutions were introduced Thursday to name the next vice chairman of the Council. And while the role of a vice chairman is largely ceremonial, the dueling resolutions signaled a behind-the-scenes conflict among Council members.
On Thursday morning, Anderson introduced Resolution 16-165, calling for Councilwoman Kymberly Pine to replace him. A few hours later, Councilman Trevor Ozawa introduced Resolution 16-167, calling for Manahan to be vice chairman. In both resolutions, Martin remains as the chairman while Ron Menor retains his title as floor leader….
read … Lose
Ige’s likely vacation rental tax veto bucks trend
SA: Hawaii, one of the top visitor destinations in the world, is bucking a trend now that Gov. David Ige said he intends to veto a bill that would allow online lodging services like Airbnb to collect state and local taxes.
In nearly 200 jurisdictions around the world, Airbnb is collecting taxes on behalf of hosts who rent out private rooms and lodgings, and dozens of cities and counties are clamoring for a similar arrangement with Airbnb, said Chris Lehane, head of global policy and public affairs for Airbnb.
“We would really like to put a pile of tax money there at the bottom of the Hawaii rainbow if we can,” Lehane told the Associated Press. “Most states see this as a huge thing. We are really puzzled.”
While states have debated the right way to regulate private vacation rentals, the National Conference of State Legislatures isn’t aware of any other governor vetoing legislation on short-term occupancy, said Max Behlke, manager of state-federal relations….
read … Trendy?
Enviros Against Local Food (again)
SA: …the source of almost all of the highest- grade, and freshest, ahi is Hawaii’s family-owned longline boats operating out of Honolulu Harbor.
Somewhere between 25 to 50 tons of bigeye tuna, and more, flow through United Fishing Agency’s fish auction every day, six days a week.
Yet there is an ongoing campaign to close a huge section of Hawaii’s waters to fishing. The area will be larger than the states of Washington, Oregon and California combined.
It’s claimed that the proposed expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Monument will help preserve our tuna stocks for the future. While it’s an admirable gesture, it would be a futile one.
According to statistics from the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, Hawaii’s longline fleet has an annual quota of 3,500 metric tons, which is equivalent to 1.6 percent of all tuna taken in the Pacific Ocean.
Foreign fishing fleets, operating in the ocean surrounding our islands and other parts of the Pacific, are allowed to take the other 98.4 percent.
Even if our entire longline fleet were shut down, the effect on the tuna stocks in the Pacific would be imperceptible….
Commercial fishermen fish for everyone. It’s how seafood gets to our grocery stores and restaurants. If it weren’t for commercial fishing, there wouldn’t be any fresh fish in our markets.
The people of our state consume thousands of pounds of seafood daily. It’s time to stand and be heard. Say “no” to the expansion of the Papahana- umokuakea Monument.
read … Won’t
Some Hawaii Democrats Distrust Gabbard Because she is too Honest About Islam
Shapiro: …Gabbard, 35, polls as one of Hawaii’s most popular politicians, with keen instincts and devoted followers who she doesn’t discourage from promoting her as a future candidate for president or vice president.
But she’s mistrusted by some Democrats on both sides of the Clinton-Sanders divide who see her as calculating and disingenuous in constantly drawing attention to herself by attacking her own party.
They question why the sharp tongue she aims at fellow Democrats is seldom directed at the GOP; to the contrary, she’s been visible in cozying up to top Republicans such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and former Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Chan Hodges is challenging Gabbard’s representation of the district, her commitment to Sanders’ progressive agenda, her attacks on President Barack Obama by using GOP talking points on radical Islam and her ties to conservative casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson….
read … Debate?
Marijuana dispensaries delayed
KGI: Department of Health officials said facility inspections of the state's eight licensees have yet to take place. That means dispensaries won’t be ready to open a retail establishment by July 15, the earliest date legislators allowed them to start selling medicine to registered patients….
Although he’s unaware of the operational status of each dispensary, Garth speculates that at least one dispensary will begin selling as early as October.
“Hopefully we can have someone opening their doors that have a robust menu and quality tested products by the end of year,” he said….
Next steps for medical marijuana dispensary licenses by the DOH including establishing enclosed indoor facilities; installing 24-hour security measures; obtaining a certificate to possess and handle marijuana and manufactured marijuana products; hire employees; and install a computer software system that will track the product from seed to sale, and disposal or destruction.
As for the production center, there must be fencing that surrounds the premises and it must be sufficient to reasonably deter intruders and prevent anyone outside the premises from viewing any marijuana in any form.
read … Marijuana dispensaries delayed