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Thursday, November 12, 2009
November 12, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:04 PM :: 7761 Views

Hawaii state layoffs begin tomorrow but details still unclear

Hundreds of state employees will start losing their jobs tomorrow beginning with nonunion, exempt workers, but the exact number — and who — is still being worked out, the head of Hawai'i's human resources department said yesterday.

Over the next two Fridays, an estimated 1,100 state employees will be laid off as part of previously announced job cuts because of the state's estimated $1 billion budget deficit. Approximately 400 of the lost positions fall in the nonunion category.

Marie C. Laderta, director of the Department of Human Resources Development, hopes to have firm numbers on nonunion layoffs as soon as today.

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Democrat Borreca: Silence greets Aiona's call for meeting on furloughs

No one has responded to Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona's calls for meetings between the Hawaii teachers union and public school officials to halt the ongoing teacher furloughs. (And why would they?  They are all Democrats and this budget/furlough dispute is 100% about the 2010 Gubernatorial race)

Aiona wrote to Pat Hamamoto, superintendent of education; Garrett Toguchi, Board of Education chairman; and Wil Okabe, Hawaii State Teachers Association president, asking for a meeting.

"If the lieutenant governor is thinking he can broker a deal that will take away more from the unions, I don't think that is realistic," Toguchi said.

Yesterday, Aiona said in an interview that the parties involved in state education "haven't responded as I thought they would."

"I will continue to reach out. My door is always open," Aiona said.

He acknowledged that the unions "want to have money on the table" before they talk to the state, adding that increased funding was not an option now.

Asked why Lingle didn't consider the effects of 17 furlough days a year on public school students, Aiona said Lingle had questioned education officials before they approved the labor settlement with furloughs.

"I know she asked the poignant questions, and she was assured that everyone had been confronted with the issue, and they had been confronted and fully vetted and it was good to go," Aiona said.

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Study: Hawaii in worse fiscal shape than many states

A ranking of the financial problems of various states finds Hawai'i tied for having the 19th-worst fiscal health nationally. 

The PEW report said other states faring poorly may face similar problems that have beset California because of fiscal shortfalls. It identified the next nine highest states as potentially having similar dilemmas, though noted "close behind the 10 states on our list were states like Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, New York and Hawai'i."

The report's authors looked at six factors that contribute to financial distress, including tax shortfalls, budget gaps, changes in unemployment, the foreclosure rate and how well each state manages its fiscal affairs.

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Foreclosure filings top 900 once again

October was the third time in four months that foreclosure filings in Hawai'i were over 900, as significant numbers of homeowners continued to struggle to keep their homes in a dismal economy rife with job losses.

There were 925 filings statewide last month, which was more than double the 395 filings in the same month last year, according to a report from real estate research firm RealtyTrac.

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Rate of Islanders seeking job opportunities surges

Hawai'i's unemployment and underemployment situation has worsened substantially, with a big jump in the number of part-time workers who want full-time positions.

A new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics shows an average of 14.5 percent of the workforce here were either without jobs or worked fewer hours than they wanted during the 12 months that began in October 2008.

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ADV: City must approach tax relief with caution (must not shield too many homeowners)

Both the bills — 09-09 and 09-75 — seek to enlarge the group of taxpayers who would qualify to have their taxes capped, at 3 or 4 percent of income.

A cap already exists for households earning $50,000 per year. This 15-year-old provision, known as the "circuit breaker," began as an assist to elderly homeowners on fixed incomes but now includes any property taxpayer, regardless of age, who earns below the set "low income" ceiling.

The problem with raising the ceiling to $70,000, as one bill proposes to do, is that the city has no data on the earnings of taxpayers above the current $50,000 mark, So it's unknowable how such a change would affect city tax revenues.

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DOE 'making progress' on proposed Kíhei high school

KIHEI, Maui — Heads up, the state Department of Education is telling the public. The much-anticipated environmental impact statement for the proposed Kíhei high school is on its way.

"Isn't that just wonderful news?" asked state Rep. Joe Bertram III, who represents South Maui. "I don't know where the funds are going to come from, but we are making progress."

(They have such low standards for writing propaganda articles about themselves.)

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Hawaii senator's new benefits for veterans blocked by Republican

(More Democrat propaganda from the Democrat Advertiser.  A Senate tiff over funding sources turns into proof that Republicans hate veterans.  Is there anybody stupid enough to fall for this?  The Advertiser apparently thinks its readers are. 

Here is a headline the Advertiser will never run: "Child molester rehired by Democrats Cabanilla and Baker")

READ: Akaka Advertiser refuted: "Dr. Coburn Challenges Senators to Make Sacrifices for Veterans Health Care" , Keeping Up Our End of the Bargain With Those Who Serve

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9th Circuit Court upholds dismissal of lawsuit, sanction against lawyer

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also affirmed U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright's order that plaintiffs' attorney H. William Burgess pay OHA $2,308.90 in compensation for making what Seabright described as "frivolous arguments."

On Aug. 27, 2008, Seabright dismissed Burgess' new lawsuit, ruling that the Kuroiwa case "lacked an adequate legal basis, and a reasonable inquiry would have revealed that the complaint is baseless in light of Arakaki."

Burgess would have been able to avoid sanctions if kept his arguments to seeking a reversal of the Arakaki case, Seabright said. Instead, Seabright said, "Mr. Burgess put forth a series of frivolous arguments for why the court should not follow" the Arakaki ruling.

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