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Sunday, March 15, 2020
March 15, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:56 PM :: 839 Views

Legislature: Suicide, Abortion Bills May be Dead for Session

Hawaii Property Taxes per Capita--$1,236

Green Fees – But Not the Golfing Kind

201 Candidates File for Election

How to navigate ‘coronavirus recession’ in Hawaii

SA: … With the coronavirus causing havoc for both the U.S. stock market and Hawaii’s tourism industry, now is not the time for state lawmakers to be increasing spending, taxes or regulations.

Even before this crisis arose, it was clear our state government needed to be on firmer financial ground, so as to be prepared for any shocks such as a recession or natural disaster, such as the coronavirus pandemic. Now we are facing such threats, yet carrying on legislatively as if nothing has changed….

State economic forecasters last week pegged next year’s tax growth at 0%, which is a signal that no one knows what will happen next year, and that the Legislature should tighten its purse strings.

If state officials don’t cut their lavish spending plans, they will take more cash from Hawaii’s vanishing cash surplus, which was $1 billion just a few years ago, but will dwindle to only $30 million in fiscal 2021, leading to a $257 million deficit for fiscal 2022. This would leave Hawaii’s rainy day funds inadequate to deal with even a light shower, let alone a full-blown economic or public health emergency.

In the short run, a revenue drought threatens the already-shaky finances of Honolulu’s rail project because it derives much of its funding from the state general excise tax, to which tourists contribute about 20%. It also endangers the state’s health benefits fund, which might have to spend more on health care. If health-care costs for state beneficiaries are 1% higher than expected, that would increase the unfunded liabilities of the Employer Union Trust Fund to $15 billion, up from the current $12 billion.

In the long run, the pensions of Hawaii’s retired public employees are at risk. If the investment returns of the state Employees’ Retirement System are 2% less than expected over the long term, its debt could increase to $30 billion, up from $14 billion now….

Lawmakers could start by reining in spending. If state spending for fiscal 2021 were held at fiscal 2019 levels, that would create a surplus of $1.4 billion that could be used for financial or health emergencies.

Then they could lower taxes, to help reverse the exodus of residents to the mainland. Lower taxes on private-practice doctors and nurses could help lure more health professionals back to Hawaii, which has a shortage of 820 doctors.

Finally, the state should ease up on business regulations. Any increase in the state minimum wage, for example, will only make it harder for struggling businesses to survive, and their employees as well….

read … How to navigate ‘coronavirus recession’ in Hawaii

Corona Virus becomes Excuse for the Tax n Spend Make-Work Projects Proposed to the Legislature Before Corona

SA Editorial: just two months ago, the 2020 Hawaii Legislature was sizing up spending plans based, in part, on projections that state tax collections would grow by some 4% to more than $7.4 billion in the fiscal year that ends June 30.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus is rapidly nixing that sunny outlook. The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization issued a report last week that predicted the pandemic would cause visitor arrivals to drop by more than 7% this year, and more than 6,000 jobs in Hawaii would be eliminated before employment begins to rebound.

In an unsettling harbinger, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations last week said that first-time unemployment claims have been on the rise in recent weeks….

(So lets use this as an excuse top peddle the same scheme we were going to be pushing this legislative session.)

One step should involve pumping more state money into shovel- ready public works construction projects, especially for much-needed upgrades at school campuses.

(CLUE: ‘Shovel-ready’ was fake in 2008 it’s fake now.  The economy will turn around when the disease turns around and these shovel-ready projects won’t be built for years.  This is just the usual pitch for CIP hijacking COVID-19 as an opportunity.) 

Also, the state should consider imposing a sort of community workforce agreement that prioritizes hiring of local workers who have lost employment due to the unfolding economic downturn….

(In other words, a sop to local building trades unions.  Right now construction is booming.  There aren’t enough local workers to fill all the construction jobs.  So placing this requirement means that the so-called ‘shovel-ready’ jobs will not be built for even longer.  Because it does not involve dealing with 100s or retail customers face-to-face, construction is one of the industries least affected by Corona Virus.)

read … Editorial: Protect Hawaii’s economy and health from coronavirus

Caldwell Pushes his Sue Big Oil Litigation Scam

SA: “…Hold oil, gas companies accountable for Hawaii’s climate change costs….”

read … Caldwell

5th & 6th & 7th COVID-19 cases announced in Hawaii--No Local Transmission

KHON: … According to the Maui County officials, a positive test result came back for one ‘Person Under Investigation.’

The patient is a woman who is visiting Maui island. She is currently in isolation and the State Health Department will continue to monitor her.

Prior to this announcement around 6:40 p.m. Honolulu officials announced the fifth case.

Both Honolulu and Maui did not release any additional information about the patients in their announcements…. 

read … Sixth presumptive positive COVID-19 case announced in Hawaii

Unsanitary Homeless Shelter-Refusers Spread Disease, 20 Dead (but it's not Corona)

Cataluna: … we’ve been living with the danger of serious outbreaks for years.

Or maybe “living with” isn’t the right term. Maybe it’s more like “doing our best to ignore” the situation.

The sanitation issues that arise when homeless people live in squalor, urinate and defecate in public places and forage in trash cans are a threat not only to their sector of the population, but to everyone. It’s been that way for years.

Just one example: Last month, a reader sent photos to the newspaper that showed a homeless woman using the bathroom at the city kiss-and-ride bus stop in Hawaii Kai. The woman was right out in the open, in broad daylight in front of everyone waiting there with her pants pulled all the way down while she squatted into a cement planter (which also serves as a bench) in the area where people stand to board the bus. The pictures were too graphic for the newspaper, but a story ran describing the situation.

A few weeks later, more photos were sent to the newspaper: same lady, same place, same activity, but even more graphic. Nothing had changed.

That’s just one example of one person at one bus stop, but it’s happening all over. If you walk around downtown, you know this sort of thing happens at many bus stops and alleys and stairwells and alcoves. People poop and pee on the sidewalk, in the bushes along buildings, in the grass at Iolani Palace, wherever. There are those who take it upon themselves to hose it all down or pick it up on a regular basis, but how much of the threat of pathogens remains?

Most people are careful about where they sit, where they step, what they touch, but the folks who are doing their business in public places are doing so without benefit of toilet paper, soap or Purell. It’s one thing to push elevator buttons with your knuckle. It’s another to reduce the threat of these shockingly unsanitary conditions in our lives.

In 2017, San Diego’s homeless population experienced an outbreak of hepatitis A related to unsanitary living conditions. There were 592 cases reported and 20 deaths, a fatality rate similar to that of COVID-19. That is only one possible pathogen spread by human waste….

read … Coronavirus outbreak was just a matter of time

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