Rail Tax Hike: Legislators Promise Special Session, but Cannot Agree on Date or Funding Mechanism
Global Warming: UH Professors Say Everybody in Hawaii Will Burn to Death. Soon. Real soon.
Cool Schools? DoE Working to Avoid Installing Air Conditioners
Rail vs Neil Blaisdell Center Renovations
IT: Hawaii Spends the Most, Gets the Least
GT: …Hawaii that can claim the title of biggest IT spender when considering the portion of state budget dedicated to technology, according to data from the Center for Digital Government*.
Not that the IT spend is even that huge in Hawaii — it's just 3.75 percent of the state’s budget. Behind Hawaii is Massachusetts at 3.71 percent, Illinois at 3.61 percent, Alaska at 3.32 percent and Vermont at 3.24 percent.
The bottom level is made up of Midwestern and Southern states — Kentucky, Mississippi, Indiana, Louisiana, West Virginia and Alabama all spend less than 2 percent of their budgets on IT.
Spending more on technology isn’t necessarily a good thing, either. There are a lot of variables that could explain how much of a state’s budget goes toward IT, and even more that could explain a large or small total budget relative to a state’s population. In many states, old systems can drive up costs with every passing year….
read … Wangs are Expensive, so are Punch Cards
DoTax: Another Big IT Project Collapse—$ Millions Wasted
SA: …The state Legislature rejected Gov. David Ige’s request for $18 million to continue its “Tax System Modernization” project, one of the governor’s top-priority projects at the outset of his administration.
And it has passed House Bill 1414 for good measure, a mandate for the state auditor to investigate the problems DOTAX has encountered rolling out its new computer system….
there is good reason for all the skepticism from lawmakers: This is, after all, the agency’s second swing at the ball, after whiffing on a costly initial project. That agreement, signed with CGI Group Inc., cost $87.5 million for the installation of a system found to be outdated.
Further, legislators have a reasonable interest in seeing more incremental improvements in tax system functioning. State income tax refunds have been delayed by up to four months in at least two annual cycles, in 2015 and 2016…..
NR: Ige Signs SB850 -- Expands CIO’s Authority to Initiate Third-Party Review of IT Projects
read … Tax agency must show progress
Enough is enough: Cut losses, end rail project
SA: …The chairman of the University of Hawaii’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Panos Prevedouros, says the current level of traffic congestion could be reduced significantly if rail money could be redirected. Proven strategies include adding new traffic lanes to existing roads; installing flyovers and bypasses in chokepoint areas like the Middle Street merge; and adding new contraflow and bus-on-shoulder options….
…recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation makes clear that rail on Oahu would consume more energy per passenger mile than is currently being consumed by individuals who drive to work….
read … Enough is enough: Cut losses, end rail project
Tourism Industry is Proof of Hawaii Democrats’ Climate Hypocrisy
IM: …Over-tourism is the dirty little secret that Hawaii’s tourism industry and Gov. David Ige’s administration seem reluctant to confront.”
The arrival of additional visitors raises other questions. How can Hawai`i embrace the Paris Climate Agreement, agreeing to adopt it at the state level, while at the same time, encouraging more foreign visitors, asserting that air travel emissions are neither part of Hawai`i’s emissions, nor should be offset through the purchase of green credits….
Several years ago, the Hawai`i State Legislature funded a study on the carrying capacity of the islands. The tourism industry hijacked the study, and morphed it into a study on sustainable tourism; how to remove anticipated roadblocks that would impede an ever-increasing number of tourists to visit Hawai`i.
Should Hawai`i now conduct a real and meaningful analysis on the impact of tourism on local values, the local economy, and the global climate crisis?
read … Hypocrisy
How HART Tried — And Failed — To Keep Rail Records Secret
CB: The agency fought to keep the public from knowing what the Utah Transit Authority found during a study. So we got the records from Utah — in four days….
read … How HART Tried — And Failed — To Keep Rail Records Secret
Rep Marilyn Lee to Appeal Against Admission of Fukumoto?
CB: …Former state Rep. Marilyn Lee said she will work to gather the necessary signatures to challenge Fukumoto’s application. Lee lost her redistricted Mililani seat to Fukumoto in 2012 and also lost rematches in 2014 and 2016.
Lee said she was disappointed but not surprised by the decision from the Oahu Central Committee, saying that Fukumoto had hired a public-relations firm to help her campaign.
“I am not convinced she is supportive of the Democratic Party and its platform,” she said. “Her voting record on several issues near and dear to the progressive majority is abysmal. She now proclaims to be pro choice and pro marriage equality. What a dramatic reinvention of herself.”
Lee noted that Fukumoto is the second Republican to bolt the GOP in the last few years.
“They may blame that on the Republican Party, but in essence it is their lack of effective leadership in the Republican caucus,” she said. “It is very sad for Hawaii to have such a lopsided Legislature, and even though there are factions, it is still a one-party state. Someone has to get up and lead. It is bad for all of us.” ….
Bart Dame, a former chairman of the rules committee for the State Central Committee, said Lee would need to gather signatures from 10 members of the committee by June 28….
SA: “Marilyn Lee changed her mind, citing the complexity of the appeals process and the unlikelihood that the appeal would be successful”
read … Appeal
Homeless Drug Addict’s Dogs Attack Jogger
HNN: …The attack happened Thursday morning on a walking path near the Nimitz viaduct, where there have already been several reports of dog attacks.
"I was scared for my life. That was the most scared I've been," said Michael Magpayo. "There's about five bite marks on my thigh and they're pretty deep. I also have a couple punctures on my ankle."….
Honolulu police say the owner was cited for failing to control a dangerous dog -- a misdemeanor with penalties of up to $2,000 and 30 days in jail -- but the dogs are still there. (Good!)
The Humane Society of Hawaii says it will take the dogs if HPD makes the request. (Good idea!)
Magpayo said he plans on pressing charges against the owner. … (Good idea!)
SA: MacNaughton Group donates $1 million to help Hawaii’s homeless veterans
read … Jogger was 'scared for his life' after dogs attacked him near homeless camp
Hawaii Judge Amends Travel Ban Injunction
BF: …The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last week upheld the Hawaii court's injunction blocked enforcement of the 90-day ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries and 120-day halt to the refugee program. However, the appeals court also held that the Trump administration could conduct internal reviews called for under the executive order while litigation against the order proceeded.
Hours after the Ninth Circuit issued the mandate in the appeal on Monday — formally putting its opinion into effect — US District Judge Derrick Watson released the amended injunction in the case, allowing the federal government to conduct "internal review procedures" relating to the travel and refugee programs at issue as long as those reviews "do not burden individuals outside of the executive branch of the federal government."
The travel and refugee bans themselves, though, remain on hold for now.
The amended injunction was issued less than a day before the plaintiffs in the case are set to brief the Supreme Court on related issues. Specifically, their filing is to address the effect of the Ninth Circuit's ruling on their argument that the injunction against enforcement of the travel and refugee bans should remain in place if the justices decide to hear an appeal of the Hawaii executive order challenge or a related challenge out of the Fourth Circuit. The Hawaii challengers will also likely argue in their brief that the court should not even take up the appeals sought by the federal government.
read … Maneuver