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Friday, May 8, 2009
May 8, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:19 AM :: 8502 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Hawaii's hotel industry protests proposed tax hike: Governor Vetoes

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - Hawaii state lawmakers were planning to override a series of tax increase vetoes Gov. Linda Lingle (R-Hawaii) was expected to sign Thursday afternoon. Hotel workers say any tax hike would be devastating to their industry, especially during a time when tourism numbers are at a record low.  They made the rounds Thursday afternoon at the Hawaii state Capitol with signs protesting the proposed tax hike. They say this is the wrong time an their goal is to send a strong message to lawmakers.

  • Lawmakers ready with overrides
  • $5B budget relies on tax hikes and federal funds
  • Governor vetoes Hawaii tax hikes
  • Unions control fate of tax bills

    read more

    Amendment stalls civil-unions bill

    Round 1

    HOW THEY VOTED: The first vote came early yesterday afternoon when 10 senators voted to remove the civil-unions measure from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Nine votes were needed. Fifteen voted no. Here is the breakdown:
    YES: 10
    Rosalyn Baker
    Suzanne Chun Oakland
    J. Kalani English
    Carol Fukunaga
    Brickwood Galuteria
    Gary Hooser
    Les Ihara
    David Ige
    Michelle Kidani
    Clarence Nishihara
    NO: 15
    Robert Bunda
    Willie Espero
    Mike Gabbard
    Josh Green
    Colleen Hanabusa
    Clayton Hee
    Fred Hemmings
    Donna Mercado Kim
    Russell Kokubun
    Norman Sakamoto
    Sam Slom
    Dwight Takamine
    Brian Taniguchi
    Jill Tokuda
    Shan Tsutsui

    Round 2

    HOW THEY VOTED: The second vote came several hours later when 16 senators voted to amend the civil- unions measure, which effectively killed it this session. Nine voted no. Here is the breakdown:
    YES: 16
    Robert Bunda
    Willie Espero
    Mike Gabbard
    Brickwood Galuteria
    Suzanne Chun Oakland
    Colleen Hanabusa
    Fred Hemmings
    Donna Mercado Kim
    Russell Kokubun
    Clarence Nishihara
    Norman Sakamoto
    Sam Slom
    Dwight Takamine
    Brian Taniguchi
    Jill Tokuda
    Shan Tsutsui
    NO: 9

    Rosalyn Baker
    J. Kalani English
    Carol Fukunaga
    Josh Green
    Clayton Hee
    Gary Hooser
    David Ige
    Les Ihara
    Michelle Kidani

    RELATED: Tactic kills civil unions bill

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    Hawaii delegation introduces recalibrated Akaka Bill

    Yesterday, the four island Democrats reintroduced the version of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act approved by the House and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in 2007.

    The version contains a specific prohibition on gaming by a native Hawaiian governing entity that would be created by the measure. All forms of gambling already are outlawed in Hawaii.

    (Poor journalism.  The 2007 version also has several other changes.  Have those too been reintroduced?)

    Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye reintroduced the so-called Akaka Bill in the Senate, while Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono did the same in the House.

    Advertiser: "After careful consideration, we have decided to move forward with the version of the bill which was approved by the relevant congressional committees and the full House in 2007," the delegation said in its statement.

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    Big Isle to get $75M boost

    Nearly half of the money Kenoi expects to be spent on Hawaii Island -- $35 million -- will pay for a new mid-level road for Kona. It will run parallel to Queen Kaahumanu Highway, between Kailua-Kona and the airport.
    The road will open up land for hundreds of Native Hawaiian homesteaders and 2,200 affordable homes, according to a handout given workshop participants.
    Hawaii County stands to receive $3.4 million to hire 16 new community policing officers, $977,000 to buy two 49-passenger buses, and $7.5 million to replace large-capacity cesspools that are now outlawed.
    Money for energy-efficient street lights, meals for the elderly and equipment for volunteer firefighters also is expected, Kenoi said.
    Nearly $5 million will go to the semi-autonomous Department of Water Supply for various projects, including an Ahualoa well and million-gallon reservoir to service the Honokaa area.
    Other funding will go to the state and federal governments. The state Department of Transportation expects to be awarded $11 million to fix Hawaii Belt Road bridges, while the federal government will get $2.6 million to install solar systems at the Army's Pohakuloa Training Area and Bradshaw Airfield. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is to get nearly $8 million.
    The money is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which President Barack Obama signed into law Feb. 17.

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    Hawaii Co. Council seeks unified trash fix

    Hawaii County wants to work with its three counterparts in pursuing a single, statewide solution to each county's garbage-disposal challenges.
    That's the nonbinding resolution or policy statement the Hawaii County Council adopted by a 7-2 vote Wednesday....

    Yagong said that given Hawaii Island's abundance of vacant land, it "makes sense" that a Big Island site could be chosen for a facility that would process all of Hawaii's rubbish.
    "I would hate to do that," Yagong said.

    (So after Hawaii County--on behalf of Wheelabrator--killed waste-to-energy by sabotaging the RFP and then failing to perfect the competing bids, the Hawaii Co Council is now offering up Hawaii's land to Wheelabrator for the lucrative opportunity to handle all of the state's trash in a gigantic landfill. All waste, all profit, no energy.) 

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    Bill that gives MMMC more independence gets final OK

    Senate Bill 1673 wouldn't separate Maui Memorial from the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. or move it under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Health, as earlier proposals would have done. But it would give the hospital the ability to form partnerships with private entities, negotiate its own labor contracts and move with a kind of independence it has not enjoyed before.  Maui Memorial Chief Executive Officer Wesley Lo said he was "thrilled" at the culmination of an effort begun by the hospital and its supporters more than five years ago.

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    Maui Salary commission: Not a good time for officials to get raise

    The Maui police chief won't get a raise, and neither will the heads of the Fire Department, Department of Liquor Control or prosecutor's office.

    Salary Commission members said Thursday they didn't think it was appropriate to give raises to county officials during such a deep recession. They denied a request to increase the police chief salary, and voted unanimously to keep pay at existing levels for the other public safety departments.

    "We just felt it's not the time to be raising salaries when so many people are losing jobs," said Salary Commission Chairwoman Peggy Haake after the meeting.

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    Pineapple operation wins reprieve, for now

    KAHULUI - Even though Maui Pineapple Co. continued to lose millions of dollars in the first quarter, the company's much-reduced agricultural sector is still a part of the parent company's plans.  After catastrophic losses last year, the board of directors set up a series of thresholds that, if triggered, would shut down the last pineapple operation in America.

    In its quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, published Wednesday, Maui Land & Pineapple Co. said that its price per box for fresh pine went up this year, even though total shipments were way down.

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    Kauai Council approves tourism ‘stimulus’

    The biggest chunk of the stimulus, $250,000, will be split among five wholesalers to drive more travelers to the Garden Island....Other aspects of the first of the two stimuli include $170,000 for a kama‘aina program to encourage residents of other islands to visit Kaua‘i, specifically targeting military personnel

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