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Thursday, July 16, 2009
July 16, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:43 AM :: 11446 Views

Abercrombie pushes to use federal campaign funds

HONOLULU — A state commission is poised to decide whether Rep. Neil Abercrombie can transfer nearly $962,000 from his U.S. House campaign treasury to his state gubernatorial campaign account.

The Campaign Spending Commission will meet Thursday. Its staff in February determined that state law barred federal officeholders from shifting funds to a state campaign.

(Does Mufi have the majority on the CSC or Neil.  No other question at play here.) 

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Unions fail to impress Lingle with pay proposal

(More spin from Democrat Borreca.  Entire story is union-sourced.)

The informal proposal was more detailed. Here are the key points:

» There would be a 5 percent temporary salary reduction for two years, with each union group negotiating the way to reduce salaries. The 5 percent reduction could be "achieved through equivalent elimination of positions either through attrition or layoffs."

» Health insurance would still be split 60-40 between employer and employees, and benefits would not be changed.

» Early retirement would be encouraged, and the employers would support any legislative early-retirement incentives.

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County, state workers could get different contract deals

WAILUKU - State and county workers could end up with different contract agreements on pay, furloughs, medical costs or other major issues, Mayor Charmaine Tavares said Tuesday.

Gov. Linda Lingle and the four county mayors are expected to meet again this week to discuss proposals for a "master contract" covering employees in both the state and counties. But that contract may include provisions leaving it open to negotiate separate "supplemental contracts" on issues the governor and mayors still do not agree on, including employees' share of medical costs and pay cuts.

"That's conceivable," Tavares said.

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Hawaii Legislature overrides 34 vetoes (34?  38?)

Among the bills that will become law include measures that will take away the right to a secret ballot from employees who wish to form a union, make it difficult for employers to check the credit history of prospective employees, and will require employers to continue to pay the medical costs of individuals who are deemed ready to return to work.

The state Senate had failed to override a veto of a bill that would have raised the barrel tax on petroleum products by $1 to help finance food and energy-security programs and Lingle's clean-energy initiative.

A late lobbying campaign by the airline industry, which was concerned about potentially higher fuel costs, persuaded some senators not to support an override.

"The airline industry gave a full court press at the end," said state Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser, D-7th (Kaua'i, Ni'ihau). "They planted seeds of doubt and apprehension in terms of the impact."

RELATED: Lawmakers Set Veto Override Record, Record Number Of Overrides During Special Session

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Hawaii Legislature allows veto of oil tax, overrides 38 others (34?  38?)

Bills that now become law include:

  • A card-check measure that allows workers to be recognized as a union when a majority sign union cards, an alternative to secret-ballot elections.
  • A restriction on the ability of companies to discriminate against workers based on their credit histories, with exceptions for managers and supervisors and workers in financial institutions with federally insured deposits.
  • An appropriation of $12 million in state money to attract $15 million in federal funds to help hospitals cover the costs of treating the poor and disabled.
  • The creation of a climate change task force through money diverted from the tourism special fund.
  • The restoration of Keiki Care, a partnership between the state and the Hawai'i Medical Service Association to provide basic healthcare for so-called gap group children not covered by public or private health insurance. Lingle had pulled state funding for the partnership last year and may not release money for the program even though her veto was overridden.

    The Airlines Committee of Hawai'i, which is made up of 23 carriers, told the Senate the tax increase would raise the barrel-tax burden on airlines from about $148,000 a year to $2.9 million a year. (Motorists say: "Thank you airline industry!")

    The House also decided not to override on a bill that would have permitted political candidates to accept more campaign money from Mainland donors and adjusted a ban on contributions from state and county contractors to only cover nonbid contractors.

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    Sans Lingle signature, way cleared for MMMC public-private effort

    WAILUKU - Maui Memorial Medical Center officials have been given the authority to negotiate a public-private partnership after Gov. Linda Lingle allowed a bill paving the way for the action to become law without her signature on Wednesday.

    This most recent law gives more independence and local control to state hospitals and allows them to reduce patient care services without state approval. Hospitals still would be required to maintain basic services, especially those for the poor and elderly.

    The new law also allows Maui Memorial to form partnerships with private entities, to negotiate its own labor contracts, to take out loans or revenue bonds, to participate in municipal leases and to manage its own funds.

    Lo has been in talks for months now with several possible partners and is considering a number of variables. "The timing could not be better for us," he said.

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    Critics call cutback in tax credits a 'nail in coffin' for Hawaii tech

    The technology tax credit program known as Act 221 remains in place through 2010. However, the program now will be substantially scaled back as part of state budget-cutting efforts.

    Gov. Linda Lingle had threatened to veto a bill that restricts the high-technology investment credit. However, Lingle yesterday chose not to veto Senate Bill 199, which is expected to save the state about $120 million over two years.

    "It's another demonstration that you can't trust Hawai'i as a state, as a place to do business," said Lisa Gibson, president of the Hawaii Science and Technology Council.

    (WRONG.  ACT 215/221 was nothing more than welfare for fake entrepreneurs.  It was just a scheme to gin up phony startups in order to peddle tax credits to insiders.  It should have been completely abolished instead of merely being restricted.)

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    Socialist health care: Close gap to include part-timers

    Having blazed the trail to an employer-based health care system, Hawaii is likely to be least-affected by federal legislation aimed at assuring health insurance for most Americans. Still, both Senate and House bills would improve Hawaii's system by closing a gap that has prompted some companies to hire part-time employees to avoid paying most of the cost in insurance premiums. State legislators should be prepared to change Hawaii's law to work part-timers into the state's format.

    (Yep.  ObamaCare is based on the HHSC/HMSA model of rationed health care.  Don't have a heart attack or a stroke on the sister islands.) 

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    Splitting the county: Community meets to explore ideas

    Energized by the public outrage over a recent County Council reorganization, a group of Democrats is forming to use Saul Alinsky techniques to keep West Hawaii under the Democrat thumb explore the creation of a West Hawaii County.

    West Hawaii Citizens for Better Government plans to meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Hualalai Academy in Kailua-Kona, said one of the organizers, Debbie Hecht. Other leaders are Susan McGeachy and Marshall Blann.  (Same people who did this last time.  This is all about factional fighting on the Council.)

    "I think splitting the county is a long-term mission," said Hecht. "But in the meantime, a citizens' group can work together to propose charter amendments and help get good people eco-nuts elected in other districts."

    RELATED: Kona meeting Tuesday canceled (Deceptive headline used by Reid Flickinger to stampede a crowd into to McGeachy's meeting.)

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    Pflueger Dealerships Accused of Unethical and Unlawful Behavior

     

    • Having the customers execute credit applications in blank;
    • Inflating the customers’ income and inserting the figures in the credit application;
    • Stating a higher down payment than actually paid or stating one was being made where none was expected;
    • Misstating and overstating the length of time of the customers’ employment on the loan application;
    • Creating for the customers pay stubs that reflected the inflated and/or false income figures;
    • Instructing, encouraging and involving customers who otherwise might not qualify for financing at all, or financing at favorable terms, to consent to the false statements suggested by Defendant Pflueger;
    • Instructing customers who consented to the false statements suggested by Defendant Pflueger on how to avoid detection if the customers should be contacted by the representatives if lending institutions seeking to verify the statements in the loan application;
    • Assisting in submitting the loan application containing the false statements, as described above, to institutional lenders on behalf of customers who otherwise may not have qualified for financing at all or financing at the desired terms, to purchase their selected vehicles.
    • And giving rebates on used cars.”

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    Gymnasium work spurs county suit

    First discovered several years ago, the leaking water "has resulted in degradation to the interior gypsum board material, mold growth, deterioration of fireproofing and corrosion to the steel structure located behind the gypsum wall board," the county alleges in its lawsuit.

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    Trash shortage: Honolulu City Council defers legislation on shipping trash to Mainland

    City Environmental Services Director Tim Steinberger testified against the resolution, arguing that the city needs the trash to fulfill a contract to provide trash for the HPOWER waste-to-energy facility. He also said allowing trash to be diverted from the city's waste stream will cost the city $12 million annually in lost tipping fees revenue.

    RELATED: Firm will push ahead with trash shipping

    Hawaiian Waste Systems Chief Executive Officer Jim Hodge did not have an exact start date, but said yesterday he is ready to begin and he expects the service to withstand a court challenge.  (Obviously unfamiliar with the Hawaii Judiciary.)

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    Hawaii foreclosures soar nearly 427 percent

    The continued drop in Hawaii's real estate market and lead tourism sector, combined with rising unemployment, likely contributed to the state's foreclosure tally, which hit 706 in June

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    USS Hawaii to arrive in Pearl Harbor on July 23 for statehood celebrations

    The USS Hawai'i, the first of the new Virginia-class submarines expected to be homeported at Pearl Harbor, is scheduled to arrive July 23 at the sub base to pomp and 50th statehood anniversary ceremony. 

    A U.S. Pacific Fleet schedule of band performances said a ceremonial band will be on hand at 10 a.m. for the sub's arrival. A host of state officials, including Gov. Linda Lingle, the ship's "sponsor," are expected to greet the Hawai'i and its crew.

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