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Friday, October 9, 2009
October 9, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:49 PM :: 7238 Views

Hawaii sees tax revenues fall 9.7% during first 3 months of the fiscal year

The council had predicted a 1.5 percent decline for the fiscal year that ends next June. While there is time for a recovery, the state is in a deeper hole than expected.

General excise and use taxes are down 11.8 percent through September. Hotel-room taxes are off 11.9 percent. Individual income taxes are down 6.7 percent. And corporate income taxes are down 27.3 percent.

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As revenue falls by $112M, Lingle tells unions to settle

State Sen. Gary Hooser, Senate majority leader, is calling for a one-day special session to tap the state Hurricane Relief Fund to pay for the days that teachers would be out on furlough.

"The 17 days of furlough — of our students losing school — is unacceptable. To me that is bottom line," Hooser (D, Kauai-Niihau) said. "The only thing I could come up with in talking to my colleagues is to access part of the hurricane fund."

But Senate President Colleen Hanabusa cautioned yesterday that lawmakers "should not build false expectations or false hopes."

"When we are talking about families and their stability, let's make sure we can deliver," Hanabusa warned.

She added that she was "not confident that the governor is on board or that two-thirds of each house is."

Lingle said yesterday she is willing to explore the subject during the 2010 legislative session, but not now.

RELATED: Sen. Gary Hooser campaign website linked to Holocaust deniers

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Maui News Polls Special Session

Should the Legislature be called into a special session to find a way to reduce or eliminate the 17 furlough days planned for public schools? 

(Has the chaos created by the DoE's decision created a demand for a tax increase?  Well, not exactly,  but the Legislative Kabuki would be the next step.  On the other hand, the Leg could vote to mandate that all "program days" will now become instructional days, but then the BoE could do this instead.)

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Parents protest Friday public school furloughs

DeLaRosa-Walker, with three children at Makawao Elementary School and two attending Kalama Intermediate School, said she and Musto also coordinated a protest last week in Makawao and plan to hold another sign-waving event next week.

She said they are urging state lawmakers to call a special session of the Legislature to respond to the issue, possibly by tapping the state's Hurricane Relief Fund to cover the 17 lost days of instruction.

She and others expect to meet soon with state Upcountry Rep. Kyle Yamashita to discuss the situation. But in the meantime she urged others to write to state legislators for help.

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ADV: Options to ease furloughs' effect are limited (tax hike? raid hurricane fund?)

...in recent days, momentum has been building within the state Capitol for action to mitigate lost instructional days....

(the Hurricane) fund must remain solvent as protection for the future. Also, some legislators are concerned that cutting too deeply into this and other reserve funds could undermine the good credit rating the state enjoys, making the financing of state projects costlier....

...the quest for a long-term solution to usher Hawaii schools through the recession won't be advanced through a shortsighted strategy like a tax hike. That is sure to cause more problems than it solves.... 

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Toguchi: Education board had to act in face of budget cuts

They have asked why — if teachers, the Board of Education and Department of Education, the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the governor cared about students — weren't waiver days, holidays, or vacation used for furloughs? Why aren't expenditures being cut elsewhere before we shortchange students? How about a straight pay cut for teachers?

(Toguchi, boss of Hawaii's surgically-altered BoE, then fails to answer this question, instead demanding tax increases and laughably claiming that ...)

"Given that only 5 percent of the department's $1.8 billion budget is spent on administration, it was clear that schools and students would be impacted."

(Really, then why does only $5300 to $8000 per student actually reach individual schools out of the DoE's $11,000 per student budget.  Where does the remaining $6000-3000 per student go?  Cronies?  Contractors?  Mistresses?  Of course!  They aren't considered "administration"--therefore they are not part of the "5%".) 

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Contract rejected; UH, union head for mediation

ADV: University of Hawaii faculty overwhelmingly reject pay cut

TOTALLY RELATED: Engineered choice: How to pick a Greenwood , Executive compensation at UC: MRC Greenwood and the $871 million dollar secret , MRC Greenwood and "A Powerful Coterie of larcenous. . . ." (UH's next system President?)

The vote "disappointed" UH President M.R.C. Greenwood. "The highest priority of our offer was to protect students. There would be no loss of instructional days and the resulting salary savings would have helped minimize program cuts and layoffs," Greenwood said in a news release.  (How could anybody be persuaded by Greenwood to cutback?)

University of Hawaii Professional Assembly Executive Director J.N. Musto, at a news conference yesterday, called for restoration of funding for the university and for a tax increase to support public education.  (But maybe taxes already have been raised....see next article....)

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SB interviews Cayetano on budget, book 

...There's money that they can go to, whether it's the Hurricane Relief Fund or doing things like lagging the payroll, which is something that is done in the private sector. You just put one paycheck into the next fiscal year so from a budgetary purpose you "save" maybe something like $65 million. Or use the half-percent general excise tax for rail because it's not going to endanger the rail project, if you do it on the condition that when the federal government approves the project, then the tax will be reinstalled. Meanwhile, the money can go, $175 million roughly a year, into the general fund and help deal with the $800-something million (state budget) shortfall.

Q: Was diverting the rail tax seriously considered?

A: It was considered at the beginning of the session, ... but then I think Sen. (Daniel) Inouye said if you do that you might endanger the rail project. And I disagree with him because I've been dealing with this rail issue ever since I was a chairman of the Transportation Committee in the (state) House, and all the federal government requires is that the local government have a funding mechanism in place when they approve the project. They don't require you to collect the tax in advance, as the city is doing. You try that on mainland constituents, they'll vote you out of office....  (Yes, Cayetano supports Abercrombie.  And he supports Case, as you will see next....)

Q: Any personal fallout (from writing the book)? Anybody no longer speaking to you?

A: One person avoids me.

Q: Who?

A: I'm not going to say, but I know that when she saw me at a program one time, she took a circuitous route.... 

(And who might SHE be...) Cayetano: Hanabusa's Broken Trust connections lead to Ko Olina

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Honolulu City Council pushes forward on property tax break

City officials have warned that they face a deficit in the operating budget of between $145 million and $150 million.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann has said he is committed to ensuring that owner-occupants need not pay more next year despite falling property values and revenues.

City property taxes are calculated by multiplying a class rate by the value of a property. Owners of all residential properties on O'ahu this year will pay $3.42 for every $1,000 of valuation, regardless of whether they live at the property.

(Rents will go up because of this so-called tax break, but it may become a substitute for Mufi's rail is the Leg raids his 0.5% rail GE tax override.)

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Bill on sleeping is put to rest

Councilman Charles Djou, chairman of the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee, recommended deferring Bill 69, which he introduced, after six members of the committee expressed opposition to moving it forward.

Members instead proposed convening a meeting of government officials, homeless advocates and service providers ($$$) to get at the root of the issue and study why homeless are not seeking out free shelters and treatment services.  (Uh, because they're on drugs?)

"All I hear from most politicians on this issue is a lot of talk and no substantive action," said Djou, whose district includes Waikiki. "Yet another meaningless resolution and yet more talk will not solve this problem." ...

"I'm not in support of Bill 69 and criminalizing those without homes," Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said. "No one wants to sleep on the sidewalk. No one wants to sleep in parks. But as they close parks, they've had to move to sidewalks," Kobayashi said.  (Facilitation.  Exactly what the homelessness industry wants to hear!)

READ MORE: Defeating the "homelessness industry" before it gets a grip on Hawaii

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Hawaii Co Council ousts four from leadership

Ignoring pleas from the public and a warning from a council member that the process was "cloaked in dishonor," the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday reverted to an organizational structure that shifts more power to the east side of the island.

(But more to the point, the East vs West division helps Democrats to monopolize all political representation on the Big Island by tying W Hawaii voters to Democrat demagogues who shout 'death to Hilo'.  That is why Democrats created it.)

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State health officials baffled by Hawaii county swine flu legislation

The resolution introduced by Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole claims the vaccine contains 25 times the level of mercury considered toxic. The vaccine has not been properly tested and proven safe, Naeole said.

The claims left state health officials shaking their heads Wednesday.

TOTALLY RELATED: Thimerosal Veto: Saving Vaccines from Trial Lawyers

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SB: FCC should review TV deal

The Alabama-based owner of KHNL and KFVE television stations has exhibited astonishing audacity in suggesting that its hurried attempt to bring KGMB under its control does not require federal approval. The Federal Communications Commission needs to act quickly to open a review of the move, scheduled to take place in little more than a week....

(The Stalinist) Media Council Hawaii, created nearly 40 years ago as the Honolulu Community-Media Council, challenged the deal on Wednesday, asking the FCC to issue a "standstill order" so the commission can hold hearings on the issue. The nature of the deal calls for such a review, despite Raycom's claim of compliance.

RELATED: Raycom Honolulu TV Deal: Honolulu Community Media Council has its own issues with "media control"

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Superferry Bankruptcy: Anti-Superferry lawyer hasn't been paid

In limbo also is reimbursement for attorney's fees and costs to the Sierra Club, the Maui Tomorrow Foundation and the Kahului Harbor Coalition, which filed a lawsuit challenging a state Department of Transportation exemption allowing the Superferry to begin operations without the preparation first of an environmental impact statement.... (Good)

"It's not been fun," said Isaac Hall, the Maui attorney who represented the groups in court. He said they've had to hire a Delaware attorney to file motions saying the cash bond, deposited with the Maui Court, is not part of the bankruptcy estate.  (This is what happens when a REAL court gets to handle the case)

"I've been paid some by my clients but it's nothing close to what I'm owed."  (But it is more than he is worth)

(Lesson: Stop paying the enemy.) 

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Silva tells pilgrims 'Damien cast out demons of despair'

VATICAN CITY — Some 530 Hawai'i pilgrims gathered this morning in the largest church in the world, in this religious and political seat of the Roman Catholic Church, to celebrate Father Damien because "he not only went, but he stayed."

"That is why we are here today," said Honolulu Diocese Bishop Larry Silva during an hour-long Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

"He cast out the demons of despair" in the Hansen's disease settlement in Kalaupapa, Moloka'i, and helped to create pride in a community that had been created as a prison where the sick were sent to die.

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