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Sunday, February 7, 2021
February 7, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:39 PM :: 3335 Views

What Are They Thinking?

Bill 31: Former Meth-head Helps Sand Island Lobby for Property Tax Cap

Hawaii Family Forum Legislative Week in Review

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted February 7, 2021

Aloha Stadium Biggest public Land Giveaway Since PLDC

Shapiro: … Instead of simply building a stadium, the state has hatched the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District, in which a private partner would construct a 35,000-seat stadium and get development rights on the remaining 80-plus acres of the Halawa site for housing, hotels and retail.

In an ever-changing governing structure, the Legislature is reversing plans to put the Hawaii Community Development Authority in charge and moving to endow the Stadium Authority — which has no expertise in construction or development and sometimes can’t even manage scheduling football games — with superpowers to oversee not only the stadium construction, but also the development around it…..

there’s no good reason the state needs to involve a private partner or pair stadium construction with development of the surrounding area.

The $350 million the state has committed seems plenty enough to build a perfectly fine stadium by a conventional design-build contract without involving private financing or development rights.

There are several examples of multipurpose stadiums similar to what’s proposed here built recently for less than $350 million….

So why must we involve private partners chosen in secret negotiations and give them extraordinary development rights, instead of using the $350 million already allocated to simply hire qualified designers and builders selected by open bidding?

Why link the stadium and surrounding development? Why not build the stadium now, given the urgency of the crumbling existing facility, and deal separately with the far more complex — and far less urgent — issue of developing the surrounding area?

Complicating it when simplicity will do only creates holes for money to fall through and sweetheart opportunities for developers, potentially becoming the biggest attempted public-land giveaway since the ill-fated Public Lands Development Corp. pushed by some of the same legislators….

read … Aloha Stadium development risks becoming a giveaway

Saiki: Increase Taxes to Restore Programs

CB: … Saiki then proceeded to highlight his ideas for the state, including:

  • to wrest control of Mauna Kea’s lease from the University of Hawaii (in part because the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope is on indefinite hold);
  • to carefully scrutinize which state operations are not working (for example, the Agribusiness Development Corporation) and which can be consolidated or reorganized (for example, move the Land Use Commission to the Office of Planning and rename it to integrate sustainability);
  • to restore funding to programs that aid vulnerable people (for example, the Sex Abuse Treatment Center)
  • to open the state to tourism with a unified travel and testing policy for all counties (for example, the Garden Island shouldn’t have a different protocol than the Big Island);
  • to take care of the public’s health (how about a statewide mask mandate?);
  • and to squeeze more revenue out of visitors and nonresidents who live here (for example, tax them more to [insert excuse here]).

Borreca: House Speaker Scott Saiki hits right notes on calling for compromise to overcome budget, other big woes

read … Is Scott Saiki The De Facto Governor Of Hawaii?

Minimum Wage hike bills before Legislature

HTH: … The minimum wage in Hawaii could rise as high as $17 an hour under several new bills in the state Legislature, which has some businesses worried about their future.

There currently are four different proposals before lawmakers, ranging from minor to drastic, that would increase the minimum wage from the current $10.10 an hour.

The simplest of these proposals— Senate Bill 285 — would increase the minimum hourly wage to $11 by the beginning of next year, while also removing language allowing tips to count toward an employee’s wages.

Another proposal, SB 676, would increase the minimum wage to $12 per hour beginning July 2022, while SB 677 would instead increase it to $15 an hour beginning June 2023.

The most drastic and complicated proposals are House Bills 21 and 600, which would impose annual increases to the minimum wage in $1 or $1.50 increments until finally stopping at $17 an hour. For HB 21, that limit would be reached in 2028, while HB 600 would reach that limit in 2026.

HB 600 also removes the same tip-related language as SB 285 does, but also establishes that possible future minimum wage increases after 2026 would be determined based on the Honolulu region consumer price index.….

The Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce submitted a letter to legislators urging them not to make any increases to the minimum wage.

“The impacts from COVID-19 on our businesses will continue to be a concern,” the letter states. “As businesses look at their expenses amidst these economic challenges, payroll is and will always be the biggest expense that is focused on first. We cannot afford to lose our workforce to unemployment. Help our businesses survive during this time with thoughtful, calculated and informed legislation. We ask you not to increase the minimum wage.”

“It would kill us,” said Debbie Ching-Maiava, general manager of Ken’s House of Pancakes in Hilo.

Ching-Maiava said she employs about 40 workers, each of whom work between 30-40 hours a week. A minimum wage employee at Ken’s working 40 hours a week would see their pay increase from $404 to $680 a week if the minimum wage rose to $17 an hour. But if all 40 employees received the same pay increase, it would cost Ken’s an additional $11,040 per week…..

read … Wage hike bills draw concern: Hawaii lawmakers mull increases despite pandemic

HB134 / SB311: FACE Pushing ‘Carbon Cashback’ Ponzi Scheme

SA: …It would stimulate the economy by putting money into the pockets of Hawaii’s residents. The money would be raised from a fee on fossil fuels that would have the effect of reducing their consumption. That would benefit the environment. It’s not a dream or fantasy. It’s a program called “Carbon Cashback.”…

(Lets just skip to the comments.)   “This raises our cost of living, increases our hassles of living, and does NOTHING to save the planet.  It does however enrich eco-cronies and calm eco-zealot snobs, empower woke tyrants.  The poorest least privileged pay the biggest cost.  And our kids move to Vegas, as there is no affordable future here.  Auwe.”

HB134: Text, Status

SB311: Text, Status

read … State Sponsored Ponzi Scheme

Beware of new Fed Rec threat

FH: … Remember the Akaka Bill and Kanaʻiolowalu? Well, get ready… the Biden Administration and Congress are preparing a new bill for Federal Recognition of Native American Tribes. It’s like an Akaka Bill-Kanaʻiolowalu group plan. Their scheme is to sneak Native Hawaiians into a bill bundled with several Native American tribes that are actually seeking Federal Recognition. As a bundle, the prospects of passage by Congress are much stronger.

Thus, our job is to prevent from being bundled into being subjugated as a tribal nation. We need to refuse to be placed in that bundle before the bill is submitted, or extricate ourselves if we are already in that package.

We can do this. We fought the Akaka Bill for 12 years and won. After that, we fought off the Kanaʻiolowalu-DOI Fed Rec threat for 6 years….

read … Beware of new Fed Rec threat

Imagine if Ige had been able to pick his own LG rather than be saddled with people who actually questioned his decisions?

Cataluna: … Another bill that would make work-life more comfortable for lawmakers dreaming of higher office is one that takes power from voters.

Chad Blair reported on a bill that would allow candidates for governor who make it to the general election to pick their own lieutenant governor rather than have voters select their running mate for them in the primary. The thought behind this effort is to avoid the sort of internal friction that arose between Gov. David Ige and his Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, and between Ige and his third LG, Josh Green (Doug Chin was the second LG, but they got along). 

The idea is to foster a “greater sense of cohesion” in the governor’s office and protect the state’s executive leader from a Number Two who may not always agree and may have plans and ideas of their own.

But can you imagine if Ige had been able to pick his own LG rather than be saddled with people who actually questioned his decisions?  Yikes.

Hawaii’s response to the pandemic would have been immeasurably weaker had Green not pushed back against Ige’s insular nature and started taking a leadership role in the state’s COVID-19 efforts. There needs to be some healthy friction in the relationship between governor and LG. Otherwise, the LG would just be the gov’s manapua-fetcher and “gifts of aloha” caddy….

HB413: Text, Status

read … Hawaii Legislature Should Focus On One Thing

SB563: Hawaii lawmakers consider moratorium on commercial business evictions

SA: … Commercial landlords would be prohibited from evicting tenants under a bill Hawaii lawmakers took up last week to try to assist businesses reeling from the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Bill 563, which passed out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health on Tuesday, also would prohibit landlords from trying to collect back rent from businesses for 12 months after expiration of the last emergency proclamation relating to the pandemic.

Tenants would be able to terminate leases without penalty if negotiations with landlords to amend contract terms are unsuccessful. And if landlords violate prohibitions in the proposed bill, tenants could sue for actual damages, seek $2,000 for each incident constituting a violation and collect attorneys fees…. 

SA Editorial: Find fair help for business tenants

SB563: Text, Status

read … Hawaii lawmakers consider moratorium on commercial business evictions

Red-light cameras for pilot program to be installed in Downtown Honolulu

KHON: … The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) said red-light cameras are coming to Downtown Honolulu. It is part of a measure passed last year that would allow the state to create a pilot program on Oahu to test out red-light cameras….

The cameras will take a snapshot when a driver runs a red light. A citation will then be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle….

HDOT said the selection board is currently reviewing proposals for the red-light cameras. They will release the locations of where the cameras will be installed once a decision is made….

read … Red-light cameras for pilot program to be installed in Downtown Honolulu

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