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Monday, April 25, 2016
April 25, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:59 PM :: 3230 Views

Sec 280E: How the IRS Becomes Senior Partner in Marijuana Dispensaries

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted April 25, 2016

Star-Advertiser Suddenly Decides to Notice that A&B Buys a Lot of Influence

SA: Alexander & Baldwin has contributed more than $1 million to political candidates over the past decade, pouring money into the races of state lawmakers, governors, mayors, City Council members and congressional candidates….

A&B’s political action committee and top executives have contributed approximately $93,000 to 59 out of the state’s 76 sitting senators and representatives over the past decade, according to research conducted by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The figures do not include contributions from A&B board members who are executives of other companies.

Top recipients of the money include Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, who received $8,850; Sen. Rosalyn Baker, who received $6,050; Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, who received $5,400, and Rep. Derek Kawakami, who received $5,200.

Two of the most powerful members of the Legislature also top the list. House Speaker Joe Souki has received $5,100 and Senate President Ron Kouchi has received $4,750 over the past 10 years.

A&B has spent more than $400,000 on Hawaii races over the past decade, the vast majority of the money going to fund the campaigns of mayors, governors, County Council members and state lawmakers, according to data culled from the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission’s online database.

The total amount of contributions is likely not exhaustive when it comes to the donations of company officials. State law requires that individuals list only their company affiliation when they donate more than $1,000 in an election cycle, making parsing campaign data difficult.

A&B officials and the company’s federal political action committee have also donated $627,391 to congressional races dating back to the 2006 election cycle, according to data from OpenSecrets.org, a campaign spending website that’s operated by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics….

The company purchased most of the 88,000 acres that it currently owns throughout the state more than century ago for sugar cane cultivation. As the plantations have shut down, A&B has transformed into one of Hawaii’s foremost real estate companies, developing high-end resort properties in Wailea on Maui and along the Kohala Coast of Hawaii island and the southern coast of Kauai. The company is also developing a 43-story condominium tower in the up-and-coming Kakaako neighborhood on Oahu and owns ample retail, office and industrial space….

A&B’s state political action committee ranked ninth in total campaign contributions from 2008 to the present, according to a report from the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission. The company was outspent primarily by labor union PACs.

A&B’s state PAC spent $275,575 since 2008, according to the report. By comparison, Monsanto’s PAC spent $149,000, and Castle & Cooke, also one of Hawaii’s legacy Big 5 companies, spent $106,143 through its PAC.

read … A&B’s cash has some crying foul

Two Election Reform Bills Near Approval

CB: House Bill 1653 would allow any person eligible to vote who applies for a new or renewed driver’s license, driver instruction permit or state identification card to be automatically registered to vote if they are not already registered. The applicant could also decline to register to vote….

House Bill 401 calls for the Office of Elections to implement a voting-by-mail system that build on the absentee and permanent absentee voting programs. It would take place in 2018 to 2020.

read … Elections

Battery Scammers: We Want Tax Credits for us Not Rebates for our Customers

SA: That’s the question currently before the state Legislature with House Bill 2291 and Senate Bill 2738, which seeks to create an incentive for energy storage. Legislators must decide between two different pathways: one which amends the existing renewable energy investment tax credit (REITC) to pay for an energy storage tax credit, and one which creates a new incentive by carving a rebate out of the Green Infrastructure Financing program (GEMS).

read … Gimme the money

Hawaii Salaries Low Compared to Other High-Cost Locations

CB: …There is a lag in data, but the average weekly wage in Hawaii in March 2015 was $881. (That’s less than $30 more than a year earlier; hardly a life-changing increase, especially given rising housing costs.)

In Honolulu, the average weekly wage was $918, a fraction of weekly incomes in cities with a similar cost of living.

New York City’s average weekly wage was $2,847, while workers in Santa Clara in Silicon Valley earned $2,203 and in San Francisco received $2,070 weekly. The difference in those average numbers is partly due to some big money makers, which highlights large income disparities in those cities, but there is a benefit: more money circulates there.

Among counties, the 12-month percentage increase in pay in Honolulu ranked 81st nationally….

read … Why Our Salaries Aren’t Rising Faster

Prison Officials Quietly Move To Extend An Out-Of-State Contract

CB: The state likely will continue with Corrections Corporation of America in Arizona despite a long history of UPW whining and difficulty in using the Arizona prison to recruit sovereignty activists….

read … UPW Inc Loses

Psychologist Debunks HB1072

SA: (The Star-Advertiser) article on House Bill 1072 enabling psychologists to prescribe medication (“Psychologists closer to prescribing drugs” Star Advertiser, April 19) failed to mention a very important point. The medical training involved, a year of full-time online coursework, is extremely substandard. This is about 10 percent of what a psychiatrist and 20 percent of what a nurse practitioner completes.

A 2014 survey of about 1,000 psychologists found that 89.2 percent assert that medical training for psychologists to prescribe should be equivalent to that completed by other non-physician prescribers, such as nurse practitioners.

Bills like HB 1072 have failed more than 180 times in 23 states over the past 20 years — including over a dozen times here in Hawaii. The only bill that has passed in over a decade was in Illinois, where prescribing psychologists must complete premedical and medical training equivalent to a physician assistant but with strict limitations on scope of practice (e.g., no children or severely ill patients). The people in Hawaii deserve the same quality of care as the people in Illinois.

read … Debunk

Agency to Hawaii Residents: Don't Hate on Tourists

AP: As a record number of visitors stream into Hawaii, state officials want residents to know: Tourism is your friend.

The agency that promotes travel to Hawaii is starting an online video campaign to remind locals about the benefits of the state's biggest employer.

The first installment features Honolulu chef Mark Noguchi talking about his brother-in-law's job at a Waikiki restaurant and his uncle's work building resorts. He closes the 30-second video saying: "Take care of tourism. It's a family business."

read … Agency to Hawaii Residents: Don't Hate on Tourists

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