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Sunday, August 23, 2009
August 23, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:09 AM :: 8189 Views

SB: HGEA Arbitration to put Legislature in "difficult position"

Former Democratic Gov. Ben Cayetano had argued -- and Lingle has taken a similar position -- that arbitration always rewarded the unions because the third party simply has to take a middle ground between two extreme positions. Cayetano successfully lobbied the Legislature to rescind binding arbitration in 2001, but Democrats brought it back two years later....

"It puts the Legislature in a very difficult position next session," Lingle said, "because if that arbitrator comes up with a settlement -- whether I agree to it or not -- I have to submit it to the Legislature and then they will be put in a position, in an election year, of having to raise taxes in order to pay for this binding arbitration settlement."

(It won't be difficult if Republicans don't field candidates.)

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HA: State must plan now for lean government

State House Speaker Calvin Say said he is planning a caucus in the coming weeks to review fiscal priorities and develop a strategy for tackling the budget challenge they will confront in January.

Even before that discussion begins, Say could easily predict that bedrock programs such as public education, health and safety — often described as the "social safety net" — will have to top the list.

Say has not ruled out pursuing new revenues. Although he's staunchly opposed raising the general excise tax, he suggests pressing federal authorities to suspend requirements for states to provide matching funds in order to receive federal grants.

(With the arbitration schedule painting a bulls-eye on the Legislature, the Advertiser and Star-Bulletin are both deeply concerned about the Legislators' welfare.  Next January will mark the first time that legislators are going to have to take responsibility for the State's economic crisis.)

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Kalapa: Session marred by lack of quality work product

Certainly one example of how badly the legislative product has suffered is the number of conference committee drafts there are appended to a bill. In the “good old days” of yesteryear, it was the norm to have only a single conference committee draft. Today, there are sometimes two or three drafts of the conference committee agreement. Many times those changes are made as “floor amendments,” something that was unheard of in the past. There just wasn’t anything that was brought to the floor of the House or the Senate that was subsequently amended on the floor.

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City's financing options for $5.3B Oahu rail system may be limited

Lowell Kalapa, director of the Tax Foundation of Hawai'i, said it's unlikely the Council on Revenues will revise its tax collection estimates to reflect a near-term increase in tax collections.

"The outlook is still quite dour," he said. "I think we're looking at lower (estimates). What economic activity is going to boost (general excise tax) revenues? I just don't see it happening."

The FTA will determine whether Honolulu can get more than $1.4 billion in federal money to help the project, and in the July 15 e-mail an unidentified city official outlined possible sources of revenue to close the gap.

"It's my understanding that some concerns remain at FTA about strength of the revenue side of our financial plan and the effect that the slower economy will have on our excise tax forecasts," the first sentence read.

In that e-mail, the city mentioned extending the half a percentage point general excise tax surcharge beyond its original 2022 expiration date, but officials have indicated that avenue had been rejected.

In response to another option in the e-mail to divert more than $300 million in federal funds intended for TheBus, the city said in a press release:

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SB: Inouye earmarks beneficial to Hawaii

No. Inouye earmarks are quite beneficial to his cronies and to the continuance of the one-party system.

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Food stamp enrollment surges in Hawaii, with 9% now getting aid

Participation in the food stamp program increased by 25 percent — with more than 23,000 additional residents enrolled — over the nine-month period ending in June.  State-wide, 120,193 people — or 1 in 11 people in Hawai'i — were getting food stamps in June, the state said.

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Princess' plans fill tourism's sails

The California-based company announced that it has scheduled 19 sailings for the 2010-11 season, up from a schedule of about 14 or 15 previously, according to spokeswoman Julie Benson.

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Builders ‘banking on’ big projects that are on hold

The county issued 866 building permits from January to July, a 38 percent drop from the same period last year. But the dollar value of construction projects went down much more steeply.

Total valuation of building permits was down by 58 percent from last year, to $158.7 million. That indicates that it's major construction projects at the high end of the spectrum - the kind that generate the most jobs - that are leading the slowdown.

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Tavares on 18 injection wells: Get rid of all of them

LAHAINA - A recent scientific discussion about a federal permit to dispose of wastewater - with costly new conditions for taxpayers - quickly transformed into a format for Maui County Mayor Charmaine Tavares to introduce an ambitious plan to use the treated wastewater to grow algae as an alternative energy fuel source.

The county Department of Environmental Management, which oversees the county's four wastewater treatment facilities, is in preliminary discussions with Oahu-based Hawaii Biofuels to set up an algae harvesting and processing facility. Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island already have similar projects under way to convert algae primarily into jet fuel. The easy-to-grow green stuff can also be used to make ethanol, biodiesel and even vegetable oil.

(Doesn't want to meet federal standards, so she does a deal with an old-boy hui.)

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Statehood: Maui News takes a look back 50 years without any Gramscian propaganda

'Blended Nation' examines race, from 'hapa' viewpoint

She continues: "But a new generation, a multiracial President, and a shifting global environment demand we rethink the old tropes of multiracial identity. It's hip to be multi now."  (Somebody needs to tell OHA.)

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