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Tuesday, July 11, 2017
July 11, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:23 PM :: 1170 Views

Floating rail bonds could sink city credit

Political Correctness Kept Radical Muslim in Army for Years

Hawaii's Ruling Party Announces 'Summer of Resistance and Renewal'

Competition: Too Many Ships Ply Asia-Hawaii Routes?

City to hold second public workshop on Blaisdell Master Plan

Governor supports smaller increase in hotel room tax

AP: …Hawaii Gov. David Ige expressed support for raising the state’s transient accommodations tax by 1 percent while maintaining the counties’ share of hotel room taxes at $93 million.

Ige said Friday he opposed a 2.75 percentage point increase in the transient accommodations tax, or hotel room tax, that had been proposed by House and Senate money committees in late April, shortly before the end of this year’s lawmaking session.

The governor said a 2.75 percentage point increase — from 9.25 percent to 12 percent, bringing in another $1.3 billion over 10 years — would be “too big a burden to be borne by the visitor industry.”

Instead, Ige said a 1 percentage point increase would “be a reasonable increase, especially if it’s for a specific period of time and would go toward helping to fund the transit project.”

Ige’s comments came the same day lawmakers announced a special session to address rail funding would be held Aug. 28 to Sept. 1….

read … Governor supports smaller increase in hotel room tax

Is Federal Funding For Rail Still Such A Good Deal?

CB: When the full-funding grant agreement was signed in December 2012, the estimated cost of the rail project was $5.12 billion. The federal portion of that started out at 30 percent, but as costs escalate, that percentage decreases. At $10 billion, the percentage is only about 16 percent.…

What isn’t clear, however, is how much this federal funding is costing us.

In order to receive the federal grant, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (and the city prior to HART) is required to demonstrate certain “technical and financial capacity and capabilities.” HART therefore employs staff (estimated at 11 percent according to the draft of the “Business Plan for FY2017”) to work directly with the Federal Transit Administration. Using that estimate and budgeted labor costs, estimated staffing costs due to the federal grant were about $15 million for FY 2017.

Other direct costs include travel for quarterly meetings on the mainland, audits and special reporting related to compliance with the federal Buy America and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises programs and increased wages due to the Davis-Bacon Act. (Approximately 50 percent of one recent $3 million change order was due to Davis-Bacon wages.)

Part of the multimillion-dollar contract with Infraconsult, which was effective in 2007, is for direct work with the FTA. Indirect costs of the federal grant include overhead, e.g., rent, computers, and communications.

These costs add up to a significant portion of the $1.55 billion federal grant when extended out for the duration of the project. The biggest cost, however, may be not considering alternatives that may result in the best option….

read … Shrinking

Sierra Club: HECO isn’t Hiking Rates Fast Enough

CB: …Here’s the truth: I (count the ‘I’s’ in this editorial) am one of maybe two or three twenty-somethings that regularly participate in these meetings, representing stakeholders. In a room full of high-paid attorneys, engineers and analysts, I am the rate-payer that will be most impacted by the decisions made in that room.

I’m a renter, my girlfriend and I earn at or below the top two quintiles of average income and I certainly can’t afford to put a solar system on my house today. (Hint: I don’t own a house.) My wallet’s going to feel that higher electric rate as a result of the capital expenditure needed to build out a more modern grid and greater amounts of renewables.

But the thing is, we need this. And I’m okay with that, and I think everyone else is too…. -- co-chair of the Sierra Club of Hawaii’s Energy Committee….

We need to find an independent group (to write the PSIP), one that is less shackled by corporate responsibility…   (ie some completely irresponsible people like me….).

(Total: 8 ‘I’ and 3 ‘my’ and that’s just in this short excerpt)

read … Hand in Your Pocket

HB209: Massive Income Tax Hike Signed into Law

HNN: …Gavin Thornton of the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice said the state tax credit mirrors the federal earned income tax credit.

"The federal EITC is responsible for bringing more low-income children out of poverty than any other program in the nation," he said.

Those who qualify will get an additional 10 percent of their federal tax credit in their state tax refunds.

But Tom Yamachika, of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, said the new law amounts to a tax hike that restores higher tax rates on higher income earners that lawmakers enacted in 2010 when government needed more money.

"We got rid of them at the end of 2015. Now, guess what? They're back again, and they're here to stay permanently. So guess what happens the next time government needs money?" he said.

State Rep. Aaron Johanson introduced the measure.…

Related: HB209: Sneaky Legislators Limit Usefulness of Earned Income Tax

read … Massive Tax Hike

Hawaii State Legislature will not convene to override vetoes

KGI: The state House of Representatives will not hold a special session to override bills on Gov. David Ige’s intent-to-veto list.

“When we polled members of the Senate, there wasn’t indication on a vote on any of the items on the veto list that indicated they would want to come back and try again,” said Ronald Kouchi, state Senate president, who represents Kauai and Niihau.….

read … Override

HSTA Operative to Kishimoto: Unleash us from all Testing

CB: …An easy first step is use the upcoming retooling of the Educator Effectiveness System. The current EES is time consuming for teachers and administrators (because it makes us work), and not producing the outcomes it was designed for (we used to enjoy, like lots of irresponsibility and no accountability) Collaborate with stakeholders (HSTA) to streamline this process into a relationship-building tool between administrators and teachers, focusing on the professional growth (automatic promotions and no terminations, ever) of both.

Unleash the principals and the teachers (so we can really get some sleep on the job). Give us the leeway to make professionally informed decisions that work best for our (selves) students and our communities….

read … No accountability

Sand Island Transitional Housing Always Full – Will Expand 25%

HNN: …"Once you move in, you're no longer homeless," she says. "You get three meals a day. You get to keep your clothes clean. Get to shower everyday. You have good social workers there."

The complex's reputation for assistance has gotten around: Over the course of the past year, more than 150 people have been housed there. It's rare for any of the shelter's 83 beds to be empty.

"It's one of the most popular. A lot of the homeless clients, when we're out on the street, refer to it as the resort," said Kimo Carvalho, an Institute for Human Services spokesman.

Despite the shelter's success, it's been a struggle to expand.

A construction project that would have increased capacity by 25-percent was supposed to begin in December. Because of financial issues, the work – meant to add six retrofitted containers, enough space to house 21 people – didn't start until earlier this month. …

Meantime the Institute for Human Services is looking for volunteers. On August 12th they'll help put the finishing touches on the new units….

"We're asking the public to come support us, help us get the beds ready. Get our solar electric hooked up. Get our benches put together, our planter boxes put together. Basically get the facility ready for move in day," said Carvalho….

read … Success Story

EV Sales fall far short of Projections

PBN: …While Hawaii's leaders and energy stakeholders view EV adoption as an important step to scale back the state's dependency on oil, the actual number of EVs on the road is not in line with expectations.

Only 5,789 of the more than 1 million registered passenger vehicles in the state were EVs as of last month, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s Research Economic Analysis Division.

In 2015, Navigant Research predicted Hawaii would exceed 30,000 in EV registrations by 2020. To achieve this number, Navigant expected EV registration to be above 13,000 by 2017, which is more than twice the actual number….

read … Elon Musk is Disappointed with his Minions

‘Outdated’ HighTech Schemers Drop High from Name 

PBN: …The High Technology Development Corp. has finally changed its name to the Hawaii Technology Development Corp., a change the organization’s leader says it has been requesting for the last four years.

Gov. David Ige signed Senate Bill 902 on Tuesday, which made the change official.

“High tech is outdated. ‘Hawaii’ solidifies that we are a state agency,” she said.

Coinciding with the name change, HTDC also launched its redesigned website, which can be found at www.htdc.org….

read … Outdated

Honolulu City Council May Expand Its Plastic Bag Ban

CB: The Honolulu City Council will consider a bill Wednesday to close a loophole in the plastic bag ban that currently allows the use of thicker plastic checkout bags.

Under the amended Bill 59, all thin, flexible plastic bags 10 millimeters (roughly four-tenths of an inch) or less would be banned by 2020….

BIVN: VIDEO: Point-Counterpoint On Hawaii Polystyrene Ban

read … Tree Huggers become Tree Choppers -- And Don't Notice

Gun Control Nuts Cherry Pick Data from Hawaii

BB: …The researchers claim, “States that adopted RTC laws have experienced an average 13 percent to 15 percent increase in violent crime in the 10 years after enacting those laws.”

Stop and consider the gist of what Donahue and his researchers are suggesting—that states which adopted a RTC posture for concealed carry applicants with no criminal record are seeing more crime because those without criminal records can carry. Does this make sense?  And it should be noted that RTC—or “shall issue”—does not include issuing to criminals. Rather, such a posture obligates the states to issue when there is no criminal record.

Yet Donahue and his researchers suggests RTC elevates violent crime.

How can they even begin to defend such a claim? According to Fox News columnist John Lott, they defend it by cherry picking which states they will contrast with other states and by ignoring the differences between states which are permeated with crime versus states where the violent crime is largely isolated to one city, like Chicago, Illinois.

Lott wrote:

No other study by an economist, criminologist, or law professor has claimed that US violent crime rose after right-to-carry laws were adopted. …This new study picks out just two to four states, and in many cases effectively just use Hawaii to compare with right-to-carry states.  In the cases of Idaho and Minnesota, over 96 percent of the comparison is just with Hawaii.  For Mississippi, Nebraska, and Utah, Hawaii counts for between 72 percent and 83 percent of the comparison.

read … Cherry

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