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Tuesday, November 10, 2009
November 10, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:50 AM :: 9087 Views

State tax revenue declines by 10.9%

State tax collection have dropped again.

A monthly report issued yesterday by the state Tax Department shows that compared with the same period last year, the state has collected 10.9 percent less in the first four months of the fiscal year.

The state's general excise tax dropped 12.9 percent. The hotel room tax also dropped 12.9 percent.

Despite the drop, House Finance Committee Chairman Marcus Oshiro said he would not recommend a tax increase when the Legislature meets in January.

"We will look at elimination of some programs, vertical cuts to some programs or services," Oshiro said.

In the Senate, Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, Ways and Means Committee chairwoman, said yesterday she would introduce a bill next year taking $40 million from the counties' portion of the hotel room tax.

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SB: Leave Tax Policy Alone  (This is an argument for a tax increase)

"I don't want to raise taxes because it will be so counterproductive," House Speaker Calvin Say told the Star-Bulletin's Richard Borreca. "People may not buy anything but the basics."

Say suggests that the state may need to take revenue from the hotel room tax from the counties and take back a share of the excise tax collected in Honolulu that now goes to the rail project. Grabbing the hotel tax dollars from the counties would merely shift the revenue of that tax, increased from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent this year, from one level of government to the other.  (So sad.) Withholding excise tax revenue from rail transit could have dire consequences for a transportation project badly needed to stem traffic congestion. (Tragic, just tragic.)

(So what to the genius editors at the SB propose???)

One method of cutting state expenses would be to adopt a mandatory 10-hours-a-day, four-day work week, a system successfully implemented in Utah in August 2008 and tried out in Hawaii late last year, with good results....A Utah state official has said that the four-day work week resulted in a savings of $700,000 a year in energy and janitorial costs...It also may have contributed to reducing more than $4 million in overtime payments....the Utah savings are a small fraction of the $1 billion needed by fiscal 2013 to balance the Hawaii budget

(They sure are....  This is 11th month of Hawaii's budget crisis, and still no mention of cutting fraud, waste, and corruption....  This editorial is an argument against the State raid on County revenues, which is in practical effect an argument for a tax increase....Don't be fooled by the title. )

READ MORE: Furloughs vs Layoffs: The union no-solution strategy

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Not Felix Redux: Judge denies injunctions seeking halt to 'furlough Fridays' in schools

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court Judge A. Wallace Tashima this afternoon denied a motion that would have temporarily stopped the state public schools' "furlough Fridays."

In denying the preliminary injunctions,Tashima said it is unlikely that the plaintiffs will succeed at trial in their two lawsuits against the state.

Before making his ruling from the bench, Tashima said, "There is no easy choice here. ... What's the least bad of all the choices you can make here is what it comes down to."

(In other words, no furloughs = layoffs because the one thing that is absolutely off the negotiating table is the elimination of waste, fraud, and corruption in the DoE.)

SB:  Judge rejects injunction bid, urges parties to settle suits

ADV:  Furlough court fight to go on

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University of Hawaii in crisis over deficit (Kill "American Studies"--PLEASE)

Probable result is some academic programs will be eliminated, professors fear.  Good. Lets start with Ethnic Studies and Environmental Law.  These cutbacks can be an economic stimulus program!  But no...

UH programs that survive need to be "relevant to the entire state," Takai said. "If you can justify your relevancy, you should be able to continue to exist. If you struggle with that, I don't see why the university does not consider cuts or elimination."

Programs such as Hawaiian studies are likely to be immune to massive budget hits, Takai and several others said.

(Hawaiian Studies as presently constituted consists of rewriting Hawaiian history to align with the Haole ideology known as Marxism.  It should be abolished.  Although relevant, its function is subversion of truth and continuance of the so-called "sovereignty  movement" which is a figment manufactured by Haole UH student protesters of the 1960s-70s.)

So what might be cut...the article focuses on another program...American Studies.  (This sounds bad, but they're all a bunch of Gramscians and their program should be called anti-American studies so this too, can be a BIG gain.)

Gramsciam pap from the UH American Studies program:  Here's UH Manoa Prof Stannard being cited as a source by fake Indian Ward Churchill

Road map to ideal layoff/department closure procedures at UH: Antonio Gramsci Reading List

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Landlord retaliating, say elderly tenants

The housing was developed in 1978 as a project-based Section 8 New Construction program, making it eligible for federal subsidies. Hawaiian Properties manages the project. The foundation directors include Joe and Tom Pickard.

Joe Pickard declined to comment for this story and referred questions to his attorney. His attorney did not return calls.

The foundation restricted the use of the community center after settling a lawsuit in April 2008 that preserved the project's Section 8 status, said Tim Shea, president of Kahuku Senior Citizens Association, one of the associations representing residents there.

The restriction caused mental stress for some of the tenants who use the center with its 64-inch TV, piano, library and games for activities and get togethers, Shea said. For 30 years, residents could use it whenever they wanted, Shea said. Now the center is closed on weekends, holidays and evenings.

Because of the new restriction, Kahuku United Methodist Church was denied access to the center to bring Thanksgiving dinner to the seniors, Shea said.

"A lot of people got depressed because there was no place for them to go, no place to socialize" he said.

Recently they learned that the state Library Book Mobile would not be welcomed on the property, Shea said, adding that the manager claimed it was the foundation's decision because of a recent lawsuit brought against the foundation.

The lawsuit alleges that the foundation did not properly report utility rate changes, which led to overcharges.

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Gentry loses rights to Hawaii home project (no protests here)

Kamehameha Schools and Gentry issued a joint statement yesterday in response to a question from The Advertiser, saying it would be premature to comment on the future of the property because the trust and the company are exploring how they still might work together.

"Both parties are in discussions now regarding how the two companies may work together in the future since both own land in the area adjacent to one another," the statement said.

Gentry's loss frees up the possibility that another developer could step in to resurrect the project, or allow Kamehameha Schools to negotiate new terms with Gentry.

However, the inability by Gentry to develop the property over more than two decades suggests that developing a large residential community on the site may be tough for anyone.

Three years ago, Gentry partnered with Alexander & Baldwin Inc. to get the project moving, forming a joint venture to develop an initial 5,000-home phase that A&B would help finance with a $50 million investment.

That explains why there are no protests against this project.  Read about the A&B/Sierra Club relationship HERE: Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can change that

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Latest blast of HSTA/DoE propaganda: Senators urging governor to use $35M in stimulus money to cover furloughs

State senators on a special legislative committee examining public teacher furloughs said they want to urge Gov. Linda Lingle to make use of $35 million in federal stimulus funds that are entirely at her discretion....

Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto told senators that the DOE would be willing to renegotiate the furlough days as soon as money was available to put teachers back in the classroom....

(Sure, we'll just take it away from the HGEA, they won't mind a bit.)

REALITY: HGEA vs HSTA: The coming legislative budget crisis

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Backlog at state agency could disrupt health coverage for public workers  (HMSA in panic mode)

Jennifer Diesman, assistant vice president for HMSA government relations, said the association is concerned that state and county workers must actively change their plans if they want to remain with HMSA.

Meanwhile, HMA Inc., another medical plan provider, is in place to take care of government workers who do not actively switch plans.

The issue is complicated because the fund decided to offer two basic plans along with coverage by Kaiser Permanente.

The plan administered by HMSA calls for public workers to pay 20 percent of their medical fees, while the HMA plan would call for workers to pay 10 percent.

The dispute between the two medical service providers is going on while the fund is struggling with increased calls for information and with a staff shortage that cannot be remedied because of the state hiring freeze.

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$68.5M test site sought for Kauai

Inouye, D-Hawai'i, and Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, director of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, have asked Congress for $68.5 million to build an Aegis missile defense test site at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the western shores of Kaua'i.

(North Korea urgently needs the help of the anti-Superferry protesters.)

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2012 Doomsday denied

No one knows why the ancient Mayans decided to end their long calendar on winter solstice, 2012. (They didn't) Or why folks who write fiction about ancient Babylonians and flying saucers decided there is a secret planet named Nibiru hidden behind the sun that will suddenly swerve out of orbit and crash into Earth. And, of course, the latest estimate for this occurrence is in 2012. 

(Obamabot fear expressing itself.  They know Obama is a one-term President and 2012 is the end of their world.)

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