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Sunday, June 14, 2020
June 14, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:45 PM :: 1158 Views

June 14, 1900: The Abolition of Slavery in Hawaii

COVID Count 17 New Cases out of 984 tests

The Giant Sucking Sound

Sause ends Hawaii Barge Service after 54 years

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 13, 2020

Hawaii tax revenues plummet 49% in May as Covid impact comes into focus

PBN: … Hawaii’s tax revenue collections in May plummeted 49%, when compared with May of last year, and collections of the hotel room tax dropped 92% as the full impact of the Covid-19 stay-at-home orders and shutdown of the state's tourism industry since late March began to take shape.

Hawaii collected a total of $359.5 million in total general fund revenue in May, which was 49% less than the $704.5 million the state took in for May 2019, according to the preliminary statement released by the state Department of Taxation Friday afternoon.

May tax receipts reflect economic activity in late March and April — Gov. David Ige’s first stay-at-home order was issued March 25, and the mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors took effect the following day. While the interisland quarantine will lift on Tuesday, Ige extended the order for Mainland and international travelers to July 31.

Cumulative revenues for the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, totaled $6.2 billion, which was 5.1% less than the same period for the 2019 fiscal year, when it was $6.5 billion. The cumulative total for the year prior, the 2018 fiscal year, was $6.22 billion.

General excise and use taxes, the largest source of revenue for the state, fell 39% to $190.3 million in May, from $312.4 million in May 2019. Cumulative G.E.T. through the end of May totaled $3.21 billion, which was a 2.1% decline from $3.28 billion for the same period last year.

The transient accommodations tax — Hawaii’s hotel room tax — dropped 91.6% to $4.3 million in May, from $51.6 million in May of last year. Cumulative TAT through the end of May was $555.6 million, which was a decline of just 0.4% from $557.7 million at the same point in the prior fiscal year.

The May TAT amount was less than what the state Council on Revenues, which advises the governor and Legislature on revenue forecasts, had expected when it revised its forecast downward for the current fiscal year to a negative 7%….

SA: Cataluna: Decades of warnings never heeded

read … Hawaii tax revenues plummet 49% in May as Covid impact comes into focus

Many Small Businesses Going out of Business

SA: … Rick Egged, Waikiki Improvement Association president, said he’s getting indications that “a number of businesses aren’t going to reopen — ever.”

“Businesses that were only doing marginally during the best of times don’t want to go through the costly and lengthy process of trying to rebuild their business,” Egged said. “If your business was not flourishing in February, it’s hard to justify putting more money into it.”…

The recent lifting of some government regulations has allowed Marukame Udon to reopen. But it’s a sign of the times that it’s now surrounded by empty storefronts with leasing signs instead of customers seeking their udon fix….

Only about 70 of 300 or so Chinatown businesses have reopened, and most of those are still operating on limited hours, Shubert-Kwock said.

“Many businesses are hurting and deciding if they should reopen. Those that have reopened still aren’t getting the business that they need to make a profit,” she said. “Some businesses have closed permanently and more are on the brink. We haven’t even seen the peak yet. July and August will be really bad unless we have a way to assure people that COVID-19 won’t spread.”

Shubert-Kwock said she expects up to half of Chinatown’s businesses could close unless the city and state make more CARES Act funds available to them….

Mike Hamasu, Colliers International director of consulting and research, said the firm is anticipating Oahu vacancy rates at office spaces will rise from about 10% in the first quarter to 12% by year’s end. Hamasu said the firm expects a steeper rise in vacancy rates for Oahu retail space, which could rise from about 6% during the first quarter to somewhere between 8% and 10% by year’s end…

PDF: Is the glass half full?

HNN: As Hawaii business failures pile up, experts fear another wave this fall—Chinatown to Lose 1/3 of Businesses

read … COVID Depression

Honolulu County says how workers are deployed; Gov. Ige’s administration has yet to supply such information

SA: … “As of May 18, no employees are on paid administrative leave while being directed or assigned to stay home (not work) because of COVID-19….

“As of the date this inquiry was received, approximately 818 city employees were approved to telecommute….”

Q: How many city employees are being paid to do their jobs as usual (from the office or their regular pre-pandemic location)?

A: “The vast majority of city employees (excepting those described above who are telecommuting and those on approved leave, including but not limited to vacation, sick, compensatory time-off, leave without pay, or paid leave mandated by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act) are currently reporting to their jobs as usual (at their regular pre-pandemic work locations).”…

read … Honolulu County says how workers are deployed; Gov. Ige’s administration has yet to supply such information

Kishimoto: Academic Rigor Fell by Wayside and I want $87M to Do It Again this Fall

SA: … Academic rigor fell considerably by the wayside when the pandemic first hit, with schools racing to find ways of reaching and teaching their students remotely. It was a struggle for many parents to adapt to home teaching, as well. That cannot become the status quo, with students in danger of drifting away from their educational mission.

Among the many problems: Teaching space is in short supply on many campuses, even in the best of times, let alone the space to allow for all that distancing required for safety as the COVID-19 public health crisis rages on….

What happens when kids show signs of the coronavirus infection? How will working parents deal with alternative supervision arrangements? How will the state pay for the cost of sanitizing, on-campus health care, equipment and supplies needed to make this all work?

(This is a sales pitch for some peanut butter to spread around on the budget.)

In preparation for a U.S. Senate committee hearing last week, the American Association of School Administrators estimated that COVID-19-related costs would amount to $1.8 million in an average-size school district of 3,700 students. Hawaii’s school district for the 2019-20 academic year enrolled nearly 180,000 students, compounding the spending worries accordingly.  (180K/3.7K x $1.8M = $87M worth of peanut butter)…

the DOE should have some claim on the $1.3 billion in federal dollars that Hawaii lawmakers socked away in the state’s “rainy day” fund…

SA: Hawaii expected to receive $54M for at-risk students, Tulsi Gabbard announces

read … Huge challenge to reopen Hawaii’s schools

Momentum builds for police-linked reforms: stricter gun laws, opening discipline records

Borreca: … State Rep. Chris Lee, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says when the state Legislature comes back into session next week, there is a new urgency that something will be done….

Lee said in his discussions with fellow House members, he senses that this year there is building momentum to move forward with both open records and police requests for gun reform measures….

The police union, SHOPO, is already lobbying against the open government changes — and in an election year, going against any public worker union in Hawaii is always a political risk, so change is not assured….

Related: Confronting Police Abuse Requires Shifting Power From Police Unions

read … Momentum builds for police-linked reforms: stricter gun laws, opening discipline records

Ballard Dismissive of New Police Commission Nominees

Shapiro: … A surprisingly sour note came from Ballard, who, according to Honolulu Civil Beat, reacted defensively and dismissively to the new commission nominees, saying that just because Broderick and Chin are attorneys doesn’t make them law enforcement experts.

“I would caution those who are not aware of HPD policies to become more understanding before they make statements,” she said.

It’s an unbecoming look for the chief. Chin was the state’s top law enforcer as attorney general and was a city prosecutor. Broderick is a former Family Court judge, administrator of Hawaii courts and former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s liaison to that city’s police commission….

from the Kealoha scandal, we saw how quickly things can go awry when strong civilian oversight is lacking, and Ballard clearly has a chip on her shoulder when it comes to accepting oversight…..

If she refuses to take reasonable input and questioning from the commissioners who hire and fire her, it invites an unpleasant conversation about her continued employment, which would be most unfortunate for our city.….

Kenji Price: Commitment to justice compels law officers to listen, then move to fix systemic problems

KHON: Chief Ballard discusses alternatives to defunding HPD

CB: Struggling To Make Sense Of Calls To ‘Defund The Police’ (See how quickly garbage leftist ‘ideas’ become the focal point of political debate?)

Meanwhile: Wife of slain Honolulu police officer Kaulike Kalama dies at age 34

read … Doug Chin, Michael Broderick appointments boost Honolulu Police Commission

Kauai Prosecutor Tries to Make Excuses for COVID Criminal Releases

SA: … many of those released were incarcerated only because they couldn’t afford to post bail. Many so-called “violent offenders” are released into our community each day because they can afford to post bail.

And fifth, many of the violations committed were technical in nature. Think a missed phone call or appointment or drug test. (that happens when you are so doped up you can’t remember what day it is)….

read … ‘Success”

COVID-19 case confirmed in Hale Nani rehab center employee

HNN: … The facility’s administrators announced Saturday that the person became symptomatic on Wednesday after their shift ended.

That person is isolating at home. People who might have had close contact with the staffer were tested for the disease. Most tests came back negative, and they were waiting for the results of five additional tests.

Administrators say all employees are screened before reporting to work. The last day the employee worked was June 10….

You can read additional details here….

KHON: Kalakaua Gardens nursing home completes COVID-19 testing—no additional cases found

read … COVID-19 case confirmed in Hale Nani rehab center employee

Maui Hotel workers rally Saturday for safe reopening

MN: … About 200 union members and supporters in 70 cars and trucks rode through Lahaina and Kaanapali to call on Hawaii legislators and tourism industry officials to reopen the state to visitors in a safe manner. They also expressed concerns about health care coverage, adequate testing for COVID-19 and the availability of personal protective equipment.

“Today we’re here because we feel Hawaii has a great opportunity to reopen the tourism industry safely,” said Unite Here Local 5 Key Leader Erin Kelley. “Global travelers are looking to Hawaii as one of the safest places to travel, and we feel Hawaii should not waste this opportunity by not opening safely.”

Kelley, who works in Kaanapali as a bartender at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, said testing for COVID-19 must be part of the reopening strategy….

read … Hotel workers rally Saturday for safe reopening

Opportunity Zones Eyed for P3 Projects

CB: … More than two years after Congress created opportunity zones as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, business advocates on Hawaii island say there’s frustration among local entrepreneurs about a perceived lack of movement from the state to bring new investment into the island’s economically disadvantaged communities….

Hawaii has 25 opportunity zones distributed throughout the islands with six on Hawaii island: two in West Hawaii covering a single area of about 18.8 square miles around Kailua-Kona and home to more than 13,500 people and four clustered in Hilo on the east side of the island, covering an area of about 23.4 miles and home to more than 19,700 people….

The agency has created a web page listing a couple opportunity zone projects that are actively seeking investment, including a charter school on Oahu and an affordable housing project on Maui with links for investors to request more information….

Hawaii County Councilwoman Karen Eoff, whose district covers the bulk of the two West Hawaii zones, also said she sees potential in the opportunity zones for the economic recovery ahead.

One possibility she mentioned is for a public-private partnership for the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant. Last month, the county Environmental Management Commission voted to recommend that the county explore public-private partnerships for upgrades to the facility in light of the recent Supreme Court case concerning the discharge of wastewater into the sea…

read … Big Island Officials Are Frustrated That Opportunity Zones Haven’t Drawn New Investment

Hawaii County Fire Department and volunteers erect homeless shelters

HTH: … The access road behind Old Kona Airport Park became the newest homeless shelter as 18 tiny houses were constructed Saturday morning.

More than 50 volunteers, including members of the County Fire Department and Recruit Class, erected walls and roofs, installed windows and doors along the roadway that passes mauka of Makaeo Pavilion. Tinguely Development had been on site all week, working in partnership with the County in prepare the site for vertical construction.

The selected site is in the same area the county cleared a homeless camp in August 2017. …

read … Hawaii County Fire Department and volunteers erect homeless shelters

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