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Thursday, April 20, 2017
April 20, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:58 PM :: 3389 Views

Punish Judiciary? House Censors Legislator

Ciber: Company Behind 7-Year HDOT Software Failure Files Bankruptcy

To What Extent Does Your State Rely on Corporate Income Taxes?

School tax plan’s problems pile up

SA: Legal, practical and political problems appear to be piling up in the path of a controversial proposal to impose tax surcharges on hotel rooms and residential investment properties to raise more money for public education.

House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke said Monday there is disagreement within the state House and between the House and Senate over how large the property tax surcharge should be, which will dictate how much money the initiative would actually raise for Hawaii’s public schools.

But before any sort of property tax surcharge can be imposed, the voters would need to approve an amendment to the Hawaii State Constitution, and Luke said legal questions have surfaced about Senate Bill 683 that would put the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot….

Looming over both of those concerns are the worrisome political optics of having lawmakers advance two broad-based tax increases in the same year. Lawmakers are also hotly debating a plan this year to extend the half-percent excise tax surcharge on Oahu to bail out the city’s rail project….

read … School tax plan’s problems pile up

Health Care Lobby Push Back on Hawaii Gay Child Mandate

AP: Health care lobbyists in Hawaii are pushing lawmakers to rethink a bill that would expand access to fertility treatments to same-sex couples who want to have a child.

They're saying requiring insurers to cover fertility treatments for gestational carriers that male couples rely on could lead to legal problems….

read … Health Care Lobby Push Back on Hawaii Bill on LGBT Fertility

HB552: State Obamacare Bill to become Study?

SR: …SB502, expanding commercial coverage for in vitro fertilization procedures for surrogates for same-sex male couples and HCR56, a House Concurrent Resolution that asks the Attorney General to study the legal aspects of surrogacy arrangements. …

The second issue is HB552, the bill that would address repeal of the Affordable Care Act…. given the continued uncertainty about federal repeal/replace and the complexity of establishing the programs contemplated in the bill, the legislative working group named in HB552 is the most practical outcome likely….

read … What’s Past is Prologue

Competing Airbnb Bills Set Off Lobbying Battle

CB: A  bill letting online brokers serve as tax collectors is likely to pass, but lawmakers are still debating giving local governments more enforcement power….

Both bills are in conference committee, waiting for lawmakers to hash out a final version.  But if last year was any indication, only one of the bill’s prospects seem rosy. Ige vetoed last year’s bill, which allowed self-certification, in part because it wasn’t strong enough to protect neighborhoods.

A spokeswoman for Ige declined to comment on whether the governor would veto either bill this time.

The current draft of  Senate Bill 704  is much like the bill Ige vetoed. Under the measure,  the property owner would merely have to attest that it was legal to rent the property under the applicable land-use law.

Airbnb has expressed support for this bill. So has an association of short-term rental operators called the Oahu Alternative Lodging Association, as well as a number of individuals….

Kathy Sokugawa, acting director of the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting…is supporting House Bill No. 1471, which would require Airbnb operators to be certified by the county. Certification would help the city and county crack down on illegal rentals.

As Explained: Schatz Gins up Phony Investigation to Help Hotel Industry Beat Airbnb

read … Competing Airbnb Bills Set Off Lobbying Battle

Wind power raises Maui electric bills

SA: Higher costs for wind power in April increased the bills for electric utility customers on Maui.

Typical Maui Electric Co. customers saw a $7.03 increase in April from March, as the average bill for a Maui household using 500 kilowatt-hours is $155.35, or 29.1 cents a kilowatt-hour. In March, the bill was $148.32, or 27.7 cents a kilowatt-hour.

Hawaiian Electric Co. spokeswoman Shannon Tangonan said Wednesday the Maui utility’s purchase of power from wind facilities, instead of the utility-owned fossil fuel plants, caused the April bills to increase….

“In March, the proportion of wind energy used to generate electricity on Maui was about 25 percent. In April, it’s 41 percent,” Tangonan said. “Right now the cost of wind energy is higher than the cost of oil-generated electricity. In months when the proportion of wind energy increases, as it did in April, the Maui bills may increase.”…

The average price for MECO’s oil-powered plants is about 13 cents a kilowatt-hour in April, Tangonan said. The average price for wind energy on Maui is about 19 cents a kilowatt-hour….

(Your green, their energy.)

read … Wind power raises Maui electric bills

Silicon Valley Corporate Welfare Queens Finally Admit Algae Energy was just a Scam

GT: Can algae be economically cultivated and commercially scaled to make a material contribution to humanity's liquid fuel needs? Can biofuels from algae compete on price with fossil-derived petroleum?

Once capital needs, water availability, energy balance, growing, collecting, drying, and algae's pickiness about light and CO2 are factored in -- the answer, so far, is an emphatic no.

Here's a list, by no means complete, of algae companies attempting to pivot away from biofuels. …

  • Cellana and its Hawaii-based algae feedstock production system received DOE funding to boost algae productivity as a way to reduce cost. The firm produces DHA and omega-3 EPA and DHA oils, animal feed/food, and biofuel feedstocks.
  • Global Algae Innovations is exploring algal biofuels at a 3.2-acre algae farm co-located with a power plant in Hawaii. The firm has received $11 million from the U.S. DOE.
  • Phycal received significant DOE funding to design a high-yield algae farm and biorefinery in Hawaii.

Is there a pony somewhere in this pile of BS?

read … Pile of BS 

Allow new homeowners to build equity in workforce housing

SA: …It’s no surprise that most of our neighbors are just like us. We could not afford a luxury condominium with huge monthly maintenance fees. We saved for years, some on a single income, for the opportunity to buy our first home in a project like 801 South St. Our units are small, there are no resort-like amenities such as a swimming pool, sauna, and workout rooms. The monthly maintenance fees are reasonable and many of us avoid transportation costs by walking to work.

But we also have our eye on our future when we are able to increase our earning power and perhaps have a family and move into a larger home. We took on the market risk of waiting for two years for 801 South St to be built because of the potential to build equity to make that move. Wages have been stagnant for years and Hawaii’s lower salaries and higher cost of living make it even harder for us to find a way to build a nest egg for a home. Equity from our condominium would be the only means we have to purchase a larger home when we have a family.

The proposed requirement to share equity at resale will discourage potential buyers from taking on the market risk of real estate. Despite being an affordable building, a prudent buyer will not take the chance on a project that restricts their equity and limits their ability to move into a larger home.

That’s why we oppose HCDA’s proposed new rules on reserved and workforce housing….

SA: Make “moderate income” housing a reality

read … Allow new homeowners to build equity in workforce housing

HPD, SHOPO Sign Body Cam Agreement

CB: A handful of Honolulu Police Department officers should be outfitted with body-worn cameras by the end of the year as part of a pilot program.

On Wednesday, Acting Police Chief Cary Okimoto told the Honolulu Police Commission that he plans to outfit 20 officers in the patrol and traffic divisions with body cameras.

He also said that HPD has signed off on a policy for the cameras that has been approved by the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, the statewide police union.

read … Body Cams

Honolulu Police Commissioner Finds Cool New Way to Help Cops Get off Easy

CB: …(Broken Trust figure Steven) Levinson said during a break in Wednesday’s meeting that he has grave concerns with how the commission has analyzed officers’ requests for taxpayer-funded legal representation.

He thinks the commission’s process may actually be “illegal.”

“It probably means that fewer police officers have been granted representation than the Legislature originally intended,” Levinson said.

Under state law, Levinson said, the commission must provide legal representation for an officer if their actions were done in the “performance of the officer’s duties as a police officer.”

WHT: Ex-officer’s attorney seeks dismissal of assault charge

read … Just Now noticed, eh?

It took the state nearly 12 hours to alert the public about 3 escapees

HNN: The suspects failed to appear at a headcount around 9 p.m., the state Department of Public Safety said.

But officials didn't inform the public about the escapes until about 8:20 a.m. Wednesday….

"It's absolutely ridiculous," said resident Bailey Oliveria. "People need to be on alert. They need to be able to look out. We've been doing errands all day we could've been on the lookout for them."

DPS officials say they notified HPD immediately after the inmates went missing, but officials held off on alerting the public until a search of the 192-acre property was completed early Wednesday morning.

"This is a minimum-security facility so the inmates there are entrusted with a certain amount of trust," said state Rep. Gregg Takayama, whose district includes Waiawa…..

read … Escapes

Kahauiki Homeless Village to add preschool, day care center

KITV: For the past several weeks, crews have been working on back filling part of a 13-acre parcel just along Nimitz Highway.  It's in a flood zone and they have to level it out in order to build phase one of the homeless village.

That’s where you can expect to see Kahauiki Village take shape.  It’s the first public private partnership of its kind….

Businessman Duane Kurisu is driving the plantation-style village on state-owned land, with the city providing power water and sewer service.  As the plans take shape so has the focus to break the cycle of homelessness.

Many of the squatters now in the area either along the stream banks or under the viaduct will likely not qualify for the rental project.

“It’s families exclusively. It's our belief that if we can target families we can make the biggest impact,” said Kaneshige.

Now, here's where the dream gets bigger.  Kahauiki may now include a preschool and day care.

"As we got into this, and started thinking about what we needed to do, it became clear in order for this to be an effective village and for us to build a community, we needed to take care of the children," Kaneshige said.

The game plan calls for groundbreaking for the homes in early July.  The modular homes which are coming from Japan are expected to arrive in October.

"Phase one will include 18 2-bedrooms and 12 1-bedrooms. We will have about 123 people. It will be 63 adults and 60 children," said Kaneshige.

Rents for the homes are tentatively expected to run between $725 to $900 a month.  The hope is the Village will be ready for families to move in by the end of the year….

read … Kahauiki Homeless Village to add preschool, day care center

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