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Saturday, February 9, 2013
February 9, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:03 PM :: 4323 Views

Broken Trust Partners Abercrombie and Levinson Demand Legislature Invent Gay 'Marriage' Now

Audit: UH Skips 'Annual' Employee Evaluations for 15 Years

Suckers: HTA Maneuvered into Supporting Tax Hike On its Own Industry

SLAPP, Love, and Retaliation: Kauai County Attorney Nominee in Court

Grassroot Perspective Podcast: Obesity, the Soda Tax, and the Nanny-State

Lawmakers poised to renege on tax promises

Maui Chamber: Here in Hawaii, do taxes go back down once they are raised? Surely they do if lawmakers agree to sunset the tax hike (revert it to its prior lower level) when passing the increase, right? Not necessarily.

The Legislature, by Act 61, SLH 2009, increased the transient accommodations tax (TAT) from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent between July 1, 2009, and June 20, 2010, and to 9.25 percent from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2015, with the proceeds attributable to the increase used to shore up the state's general fund. This was done despite visitor industry concerns.

At that time, lawmakers said the increase was temporary and wrote into the law that the 2 percent hike would sunset on June 30, 2015. However, lawmakers have become used to receiving this additional income and want to eliminate the sunset provision in Senate Bills 1194 and 1202, heard Monday by the Senate's Tourism and Hawaiian Affairs Committee.

While that is bad and may not surprise you, it gets worse. SB1202 also seeks to further increase the TAT to 11.25 percent beginning July 1, 2013. This is unfathomable and would hurt Hawaii's No. 1 industry at a time when the visitor industry and all who benefit from it are still trying to recover from the recession.

SB1202 was opposed by us, the Maui Chamber of Commerce; our chairman, Nelson Okumura of VIP Foodservice; Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii; Maui County Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa (as an individual council member); Hawaii Tourism Authority; Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association; Big Island Mayor William Kanoi; Outrigger Enterprise Group; and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

No testimony supporting this bill was shown at the hearing. Yet, the senators present moved it forward, passing the measure unamended. Voting yes were Brickwood Galuteria, Gilbert Kahele, Maile Shimabukuro and Malama Solomon. Voting yes with reservations were Gilbert Keith-Agaran and Michelle Kidani. The only no vote came from Sam Slom. Clayton Hee was excused….

HTH: Visitor industry: Don’t increase hotel room tax

Suckers: HTA Maneuvered into Supporting Tax Hike On its Own Industry

read … The Chamber View

Report: Hawai‘i trails Far behind other states in Medicare benefits

KGI: The Aloha State comes in the last position of a rank that includes all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas, and Guam.

Hawai‘i’s beneficiaries did get some additional relief last year, compared to 2011. The overall discount for Hawai‘i’s Medicare beneficiaries in 2012 was $375, while in 2011 their overall discount was $324.

But the $51 improvement over the previous year is overshadowed by the national average, which is almost twice as much as Hawai‘i’s average.

While Hawai‘i’s 18,474 beneficiaries saved an average of $375 last year, the nation’s 3.54 million beneficiaries (including Hawai‘i) saved an average of $706.

The second to the last state in the Medicare rank was Oklahoma, whose residents saved an average of $577 in 2012 — $202 more than Hawai‘i’s average….New Jersey topped the rank, with $977 in average savings for its 169,373 beneficiaries.

New Releases

read … Hawaii Medicare Trails

SB1085: Abercrombie Full Court Press for Soda Tax

SA: Senate Bill 1085 is the governor's proposal and is projected to raise $37 million for obesity prevention in Hawaii. It establishes a special fund in the Department of Health, and possibly anti-obesity programs in the Department of Human Services and state community health centers.

The governor is fully behind the soda fee and has placed it among his top priorities. Sen. Josh Green, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and a practicing physician, is also supportive of the measure. The governor has reportedly called members of the Senate Health Committee several times personally requesting that the bill be passed out of the committee. It will be heard Monday and is likely to move forward.

read … Anti-obesity focus Intended to improve odds that soda fee will pass

Senate Committee Kills Teachers’ Labor Board Bill

CB: No dice on the Senate side, but the House is keeping hope alive for teachers who want state lawmakers to force the Hawaii labor board to rule on its collective bargaining case.

The Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee, chaired by Sen. Clayton Hee, deferred Senate Bill 1248 today after received testimony from state agencies and other unions opposing it for substantive and technical reasons.

Companion legislation is still surviving in the House, but no hearings have been scheduled yet.

SA: Bill seeking quick action by labor board is deferred

read … Rejected Even by HGEA

‘Occupy’ Teams Up with Quack to Fight Geothermal

News Release: WHEN & WHERE: 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9 at Akebono Theater, Pahoa

One of the leading experts on hydrogen sulfide (H2S) health effects in the U.S. and maybe the world Dr. Kaye Kilburn is coming from the mainland to talk to the community about H2S, health impacts, and his proposed health study.

From Quackwatch: Valentine v. Pioneer Chlor Alkali. Plaintiffs alleged that they suffered neuropsychological injuries from chlorine gas. The court excluded the testimony of Drs. Kaye Kilburn, Gunnar Heuser, and William Spindell as "novel" and "unsupported by research extraneous to the litigation." Although a study by Kilburn had been published in a peer-reviewed journal, the court distinguished "editorial" peer review from "true peer review" and concluded that Kilburn's study suffered from "very serious flaws." [No. CV-S-92-0887-ECR, D. Nev. April 12, 1996]

HB642: Hawaii lawmaker backs off bill to create a sports task force

PBN: That’s why he proposed House Bill 642, which calls for creating the Hawaii Sports Task Force to tackle the job of luring a real National Football League game and a preseason game here. Sorry Pro Bowl, this year’s 62-35 game that the National Football Conference’s all-star players won wasn’t exactly riveting must-see TV.

But after talking to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, which works with the NFL on the Pro Bowl, and because of the uncertainty over whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will cancel the game, Mizuno told me on Friday that he now wants to kill his bill.

The HTA told him the Pro Bowl is a sensitive issue right now. So, at the most, the Legislature should pass a resolution in favor of the Pro Bowl staying in Hawaii and Speaker of the House Joseph Souki, D-Wailuku-Waihee and Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, D-Kapalama-Kalihi Valley, should write a letter to the NFL, urging it to keep the game here, he said.

read … Sports Task Force

PLDC Bills Being Heard Saturday

News Release from Sierra Club: You may have heard: the House of Representatives is hearing a number of bills about the Public Lands Development Corporation tomorrow (Saturday). You can submit testimony simply by sending in an email (if this link doesn't work, the email addresses are below). Suggested talking points are also below. Please include your name, the bill number you are supporting/opposing, and the date/time (Saturday, February 8, 9:00 a.m.).

I'm supporting HB 1133 and HB 589 as the two bills that would repeal the PLDC. I'm also opposing HB 942, HB 219HB 593, and HB 1134 because they don't repeal the PLDC. 
But if you want to have a lot of fun, please join us in appearing in person. We'll be at the State Capitol in the auditorium (located on the very bottom floor, near the parking area). Politicians are easily influenced by large groups of people. Let's have a party together and make sure our voices are heard!

For more information about the Public Lands Development Corporation, please see

KGI: Repeal PLDC on the agenda

HS Students: Don’t Legalize Marijuana

ST Blog: Earlier the same day I met with a group of Kalani High School students visiting the capitol.  I was scheduled to talk with them, and had asked my high-school daughter what I should talk about.  Her response:  “If you’re funny, they’ll listen a little bit.  But for the most part, they won’t listen to you.”

I decided to prove her wrong.  So I told the students I needed their help in deciding how to vote on the issue of marijuana.  After all, they are my constituents.

We discussed the three options under consideration by the Senate.  1.  Full legalization.  2.  Decriminalizing possession of small amounts.  3.  Create dispensaries where people with a medical marijuana card (already legal in Hawaii) can buy marijuana.

Interestingly, their response was:  “Don’t legalize it.”  Their reasons:  If the state says it’s legal, more people will try it, and it will be a gateway drug for some.  Some of them were OK with decriminalizing small amounts, because they didn’t think that would give the same signal as legalization.

read … More on Marijuana

Carpenters Cash Continues to Flow to PRP 

ILind: The Carpenters Union continued to funnel money into campaign coffers of the Pacific Resource Partnership even after November’s general election, according to PRP’s latest reports filed with the Campaign Spending Commission. PRP, of course, is the group which spearheaded the anti-Cayetano efforts during to 2012 Honolulu mayoral campaign.

PRP reported receiving $238,005.43 from the Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program Fund in three separate payments made during November and December of last year. This came in addition to the more than $3.2 million received up through the November election.

However, reports filed by the Carpenters Market Recovery Program Fund claimed no disbursements of any kind during the November-December period.

read …  PRP Money

Sen. Hee Wants to Limit Tyler Act’s Scope

CB: Among the recommended changes:

  • The person must be on a property he or she owns or leases
  • The person must be engaging strictly in “personal or familial” activity

PBN:  Tyler, Fleetwood testify at Hawaii Capitol on proposed anti-paparazzi law

CB: What's The Dealio? Steven Tyler and Mick Fleetwood Rock Hawaii Capitol

read … Limit Tyler Act’s Scope

Senator Tries, Fails to Regulate Airfares

SA: Sen. Malama Solomon (D, Hilo-Hono­kaa) has introduced a bill that calls for the state Public Utilities Commission to regulate the fares similar to what the agency does with interisland shipping.

"Local residents have limited options when it comes to interisland travel," she said. "Due to the fact that Hawaii's residents have very few options, the state needs to assure that local families have affordable airfare rates for family visits and emergencies."

But the bill may have a hard time taking off.

The Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection on Friday deferred indefinitely SB 451 and asked state consumer advocate Jeffrey Ono to prepare a letter to the attorney general's office to see what the state could do at the federal level to get Hawaii an exemption to the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act. The act, signed into law by President Jimmy Carter, removes government control over fares, routes and the market entry of new airlines.

Ono testified that even if Hawaii were to pass a law regulating interisland airfares, it would have little chance of being implemented because it would be overridden by federal law.

read … Jimmy Carter is protecting us from our elected officials


LA Gun Control Nut on Killing Spree Cheered by Progressives




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