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Sunday, March 28, 2021
March 28, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:54 PM :: 961 Views

Maintenance of Effort, Part 2

Which Hawaii Towns Have Most Overleveraged Mortgage Debtors?

Hawaii Family Forum Legislative Week in Review

Honolulu Republicans Elect New County Leadership  

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted March 27, 2021

While others suffer in pandemic, Hawaii legislators see a payday

Shapiro: … With tax relief for Hawaii’s unemployed in doubt and a modest minimum wage increase for the poorest workers stalled in the Legislature, lawmakers are poised to collect 10% pay raises. Their helping hands help themselves first.

The Hawaii Legislature has closed the state Capitol to the public for more than a year, but some lobbyists are still gaining entry to visit legislators. They balked at leaving their campaign donations at teller windows.

Citing budget shortages, the state reduced general assistance payments to the poorest of the poor by one-third, to $260 a month from $388. I’m sure the most vulnerable among us are happy to suffer more so legislators can have their big pay raises….

CB: The Hawaii House Speaker wants public officials to get substantial salary increases even as the state continues to struggle through a pandemic-induced economic crisis.

read … While others suffer in pandemic, Hawaii legislators see a payday

HGEA files grievance against HART after interim CEO lays off dozens without notice

HNN: … Since HART’s interim CEO Lori Kahikina was hired in January, the rail authority has laid off dozens of staffers and contract workers at its downtown offices. The union says HART should have given the workers a 90-days notice….

The Hawaii Government Employees Association represents professional and white collar employees at HART’s downtown offices. It’s asking that HART reinstate laid off employees in its units, restore lost wages and to provide 90-days notice for future layoffs.

HART spokesman Joey Manahan declined comment, saying the rail authority hasn’t been able to review the HGEA’s grievance.

But Mayor Rick Blangiaridi said HART’s interim CEO Lori Kahikina has assured him that the decisions were necessary.

“In my discussions with Lori Kahikina who is the new CEO -- she seems adamant that the new decisions that have been made have been in the best interest in the project,” he said.

“There was a feeling from the evaluations being made that we had a lot of redundancies.”

HART has declined to provide Hawaii News Now with a count of the employees and contractors that have been let go since Kahikina was hired. But sources said it includes a number of project managers with extensive rail experience.

In response to this, Blangiardi said, “While they may have been experts, we had other experts. I don’t think anybody said let’s throw out the experts and have a bunch of people here who don’t know what’s going on.”….

read … HGEA files grievance against HART after interim CEO lays off dozens without notice

SBA Testing will soon Reveal Depth of HSTA’s ‘Distance Learning’ Failure 

CB: … In a few weeks, schools will start administering the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) to students in third through eighth grades, as well as high school juniors. For the uninitiated, these are the standardized tests designed to measure student competency of Common Core standards.

This year, since students are returning on a staggered, blended schedule, students will take the SBAs for two hours per day over the course of two weeks.

Teachers, too, have been dedicating a number of hours to the test, with meetings about protocol and procedure as well as a surprisingly thorough training module to become certified to run an official test….

(The rest of this column is a laundry list of pre-packaged excuses for the coming failure.)

SA Editorial: Put funds toward summer school for Hawaii students

read …  To Test Or Not To Test

State eviction moratorium set to end in three weeks

HTH: … A state moratorium on rent-based evictions is scheduled to end in three weeks, but nobody seems sure what will happen after that.

In February, Gov. David Ige extended the state’s prohibition on evicting tenants for failing to pay their rent until April 13. While that deadline could still be pushed back again — the moratorium was originally imposed in April 2020, and has been repeatedly extended since then — the grace period eventually will run out.

“It’s hard to say what’s going to happen,” said Scott Shishido, Hilo managing attorney for Legal Aid of Hawaii. “We want to hopefully keep a lot of people from rushing to the courthouse when it goes away.”

Shishido said he’s seen a steady stream of rent dispute cases since the moratorium began last year, and if they all choose to pursue legal action as soon as it is possible, then the courts could be backlogged for months….

(Translation: Deadbeats can keep squatting if they sue.  And Legal Aid is here to help.)

Of course, the moratorium could still be extended yet again —“I mean, I hope it will,” Shishido said.

And a federal eviction ban, which ends on March 31, could also be extended through July, according to a recent article in the Washington Post.

read … State eviction moratorium set to end in three weeks

REIT Tax Dead Again

SA: … State lawmakers have once again taken a pass at trying to abolish a tax break for real estate investment trusts operating in Hawaii.

Two bills introduced in January that would impose the state’s corporate income tax on REITs, which own some of the most profitable commercial real estate in Hawaii, failed to receive a single hearing.

Instead, a bill that would mandate REITs disclose their presence in Hawaii and fine them if they don’t submit tax forms that existing rules already require, appears headed for approval….

Hawaii lawmakers have introduced bills every year since 2014 to eliminate the state tax deduction on dividends paid to REIT shareholders in a divergence from federal tax law and every state but New Hampshire.

Past efforts to tax REITs in Hawaii were largely promoted by local real estate investors who view the trusts as having an unfair competitive advantage. REITs contend the proposed tax change would subject them to unfair double taxation and drive away investment from some of the nation’s biggest companies….

In 2019, lawmakers passed a REIT tax bill, but Gov. David Ige vetoed it over concerns that REITs would be discouraged from investing in Hawaii and the measure would limit investment capital flowing to the state….

read … Bills to get Hawaii income taxes from real estate investment trusts die

Mass Shootings Excite Gun Control Nuts (again) 

Borreca: … Here in Hawaii, we are setting new records in gun ownership. Last week the state attorney general released the annual report on gun ownership. It was nothing but bad news.

The report showed a 35.5% increase in gun ownership. That translates into 39,467 firearms registered during 2019. Half were firearms transferred from out of state while the remaining weapons were gun owners transferring ownership.

According to the report: “Independent estimates made during the late-1990s by the Department of the Attorney General and the City and County of Honolulu Police Department conservatively placed the number of privately owned firearms in Hawaii at ‘at least’ one million.” ….

read … Mass shootings on mainland bring Hawaii’s stringent gun laws into sharper focus

Report shows Hawaii bucks national trend in pedestrian deaths

SA: …  Pedestrian deaths went from 44 in 2018, to 37 in 2019, to 21 in 2020, according to the Department of Transportation. The only smaller annual figure in the past decade was 15 in 2017.

As of Wednesday, there were six pedestrian fatalities in the state, all but one occurring on Oahu….

read … Report shows Hawaii bucks national trend in pedestrian deaths

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