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Saturday, April 3, 2010
April 3, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:22 PM :: 10015 Views

LINK>>>Hanabusa pulls “deceptive” ads, mailers

LINK>>>Full Text: Governor Lingle on ‘Island Insights’

LINK>>>Ed Case: “A reliable vote for imposing higher taxes on middle-class families and small businesses”

LINK>>>Case highlights time in Washington, forgets to mention ineffectiveness

Lingle estimate on health bill criticized as incomplete

(Actually, the Obamacare reconciliation bill changes the correct numbers which Lingle cited as flowing from the Senate version Obamacare bill.  But little details like that are to be swept aside as the media rushes to peddle the aftermath of Obamacare….)

Moreover, Koller said the Republican governor's estimate is based only on the first half of a voluminous, complicated two-bill package that President Obama signed into law. Koller said her staff and consultants are still reviewing the second measure, commonly known as the "reconciliation bill," and are not ready to modify their cost estimates.  (But they acknowledge that the second bill makes a difference in the numbers.)

Whatever the outcome of that review, Koller insisted Hawaii will end up spending significantly more for low-income health care because of the new law.

"There's no way (the new health law) is going to be budget neutral. It can't be. Forcing us to add more people on Medicaid can never, ever be cost-neutral," Koller said in an interview.

But supporters of the new law contend Lingle's and Koller's assertions are incomplete.  (Note sandwiching technique, here.)

"The figures quoted by the state are outdated and do not take into consideration changes to the Senate bill that were made through reconciliation," said Peter Boylan, spokesman for U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii.

(Just another typical Democrat media hit…  Now that Herb Sample is writing articles useful to Democrats, he is suddenly getting a lot more play in the local media.  No need look in the Charleston Gazette for this one….)

HFP detailed the changes back on March 21: Bought and paid for, will Hirono cast the deciding vote?

The Governor’s pre-reconciliation figures: Obamacare, COFA, and the upcoming $350M State budget gap: Lingle vs Congressional Delegation, Lingle: Obamacare passage will cost State $300M, endanger QUEST

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EUTF's $1M/month losses could result in reduced benefits, higher premiums

But between July 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009, it burned through $72 million in unrestricted reserves as it used the money to fund losses. The reserve account at the end of 2009 was a minus $1.5 million.

"Everyone has to share that burden equally," he said, noting the state previously paid 60 percent of PPO premiums with employees paying the remainder. Recently that has moved to an almost 50-50 split, Kahoohanohano said.

Barbara Annis, deputy director of the state Budget and Finance Department and a trustee, said a solution for increased state funding would have to start with the Legislature and then go to the governor for approval.

She said she didn't think prospects of that occurring were good given tough budget decisions being made on teacher furloughs, delays in Medicaid payments and several other budget cuts being discussed this year.

"All of us are concerned about the cost to employees," she said. "It doesn't take a genius to figure this out — we've either got to change the plans (cut benefits) or raise the premiums."

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Maui News polls School Reform

When it comes to members of the state Board of Education, should they:

  • Continue to be elected by voters? 43%
  • Be appointed by the governor? 12%
  • Be selected by some other method? 7%
  • Be abolished; do away with the Board of Education? 32%
  • Don't know enough about it. 5%

If this unscientific poll is reflective of reality, reform advocates will face an uphill climb in this fall’s election.  The legislature is saddling reform advocates with a proposal that only 12% favor and rejecting the popular idea of abolishing Hawaii’s criminal Board of Education.  Meanwhile 43% favor continued election of the BoE.

The HSTA will obtain $100,000s from the NEA war chest to fund their propaganda campaign for a “no” vote.  Unless a well organized “yes” campaign is mounted, the reform proposal will be shot down at the polls. 

For legislators, this poll shows that the easy vote is to place a reform proposal on the ballot—since it is likely to fail they can wink at their HSTA friends.

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Terms sway furlough debate

The Democrat Bulletin, still trying to pin the blame on Lingle, opens with this salvo….)  As a teacher at Noelani Elementary School, Katie Nakamura says she believes any person who works directly with students is essential, including librarians, who can serve as a valuable resource to help children….Gov. Linda Lingle sees it differently….

Determining which workers are "essential" and "nonessential" is at the heart of a $30 million difference between two plans aimed at ending Furlough Fridays for public school students.

Other nonessential workers on the list included district office teachers, registrars, student activity coordinators, community school principals, school bus managers, athletic directors and trainers, clinical psychologists, mental health supervisors and social workers. 

The Governor's Office said the list was provided by the Department of Education in November amid contract negotiations with the United Public Workers union…. (Oh, so it is not the Governor’s list, then.  So this contradicts the opening, which should read, “The DoE sees it differently.”)

At least one outside observer says the cost of the plan should not be the key sticking point.

"Sometimes cost alone should not be the consideration," U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said this week when asked about his thoughts on the furlough impasse. "You should look at the benefits and who are the ones who will suffer.

"When you see that school kids my HGEA and HSTA cronies are the ones who will suffer, you'd better think twice."

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Lingle’s aide criticizes union for plan that ‘will not be implemented’; Maui teachers give their takes on vote

In response to Smith's comments, school board Chairman Garrett Toguchi said the panel will continue to press the Legislature to appropriate the funds necessary to implement the agreement.

''We have an agreement, and as in any point in time, the governor will always have the authority to exercise release or restriction of funds,'' he said. ''We urge anyone who wants their child back in school to call on our legislators and the governor to support education.''

(This is why the HSTA is so big on bringing back the HGEA members, because they need to bring the Leg on board.  And the Leg is not going to take from the HGEA to feed the HSTA.  But did the HSTA demand enough $$$ for the HGEA to bring the HGEAs Leg in line?  Or are they a day late and a dollar short?)

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All Kaua‘i SNAP offices to close

More HGEA agit-prop.  How dull.

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Maui News: ‘One-on-one’ cut out of DHS

More HGEA agit-prop.  How dull.

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House panel chairman resurrects shark fin bill

Foie gras, marijuana retailing, cock fighting, now shark fins….

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Councilman suggests Big Isle police officers, firefighters forego raises

County Councilman Dominic Yagong made the suggestion this week in a letter to Mayor Billy Kenoi. Copies went to Gov. Linda Lingle and the labor unions representing police officers and firefighters.

As of July 1, police are to get a 6 percent pay hike and firefighters are to get a 5 percent pay hike under the terms of the final year of their respective four-year contracts.

Yagong says putting off the pay raises for a year would save the county $3.5 million.

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Hawaii crops, algae may get funded for military biofuel

An industry forum Tuesday and Wednesday at Marine Corps Base Hawaii will bring together government officials and potential biofuel companies from Hawai'i and the Mainland. As many as 40 companies and 250 people are expected to attend.

The Navy and the Agriculture Department want to evaluate the use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to set up biofuel projects in Hawai'i "as soon as possible."

(And when they change their minds, this so called ‘business’ will evaporate.  This is corporatism.)

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Powerful question: Would Big Isle ocean thermal electrical plant make economic sense?

Open-cycle OTEC, which uses a vacuum to lower boiling temperatures, produced on a large scale, would require turbines so big that the force exerted during the spin would pull them apart, Daniel said.  (ooops)

The problem with creating any kind of ocean thermal energy, Daniel said, has always been the cost. A financially viable commercial OTEC plant would need to produce 100 megawatts; researchers tested a 1-megawatt plant off the Kona Coast. Right now, the island has about 180 megawatts of power capacity.

(Don’t worry.  It sounds warm and fuzzy—and impractical--so the enviros will continue to direct federal dollars at it while suppressing the one proven clean energy source—nuclear.)

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A time for timeshares

From the tourism industry's standpoint, the single best thing about timeshares is that their owners are financially committed to using them.  So even when the economy churns through one of its down cycles, timeshare owners spend the money to go on vacation….

The experts were right a decade ago when they said that timeshares would thrive once they went from being a ragtag collection of low-end condominiums to upscale resorts marketed by powerhouses like Hilton, Marriott, Starwood and Disney.

Timeshares give travelers a powerful reason to come to Hawai'i and the Hilton project is a welcome addition to the state's portfolio of destinations.

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