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Friday, December 11, 2009
December 11, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:32 AM :: 8161 Views

Say proposes up to $1B Hawaii tax increases aimed at tourism, technology

ADV EDITORIAL: The list of agencies and events exempted from paying the GET numbers in the thousands, according the state Department of Taxation....

So how much money does the total revenue from GET exemptions amount to? "It's a big number. Close to 10 figures, or slightly over that," said state Tax Director Kurt Kawafuchi.  (10 figures = $1B+)

Kawafuchi said his department is reviewing the GET exemptions and looking at scaling back or eliminating the exemptions. The focus will be on groups and services that are not already part of the IRS 501(c)(3) exemptions and that do not pay a similar form of tax. For instance, scientific facilities that contract with the federal government are currently exempt. But that exemption applies beyond research to things such as maintenance, housing and commissaries.

Also on the hodge-podge list of exemptions are sales of liquor, cigarettes and agricultural products to carriers such as airlines, shipping companies and cruise ships....

Some of the special interest exemptions being considered for repeal in Say's draft bill include: cargo loading and unloading; merchants associations; call centers; ship building and repair; and the labor organization real property leasing exemption.

(We gotta save those jobs in Gov't--they vote Democrat)

RELATED: Hawaii 42nd in Small Business Survival, HSTA using furloughs to keep “Race to the Top” dollars—and reform--out of Hawaii schools, Furloughs vs Layoffs: The union no-solution strategy

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Hawaii gains 1,412 jobs from stimulus mostly in government (and loses how many from Obamanomics?)

Through September, Hawai'i had been awarded $820 million in stimulus funds. About $150 million was actually received, of which nearly $40 million was spent on potentially job-creating activities. Separately , at least $296 million of stimulus money has been spent on non-job-creating entitlement programs including unemployment insurance, food assistance , medical assistance and foster care, according to the state.

Overall, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is expected to bring about $1.4 billion into the state and create or save 15,000 jobs during a two-year period ending in 2011. That figure includes indirect jobs created by stimulus spending.

(While wrecking the economy and doubling unemployment, Obamanomics has produced less than 10% of the promised jobs, and even those are unverifiable.)

RELATED: The Road to Recovery Begins with the End of Obamacare

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Liquor board chief put on leave

In 2002, eight former inspectors were indicted by a federal grand jury on racketeering, bribery, extortion and related charges. At the time, prosecutors described it as the state's largest corruption case involving a government agency.

All eight were found guilty in the case and received prison sentences.

In 2007, a former liquor inspector pleaded guilty to extorting nightclub owners in exchange for providing information about Liquor Commission inspections and allowing them to operate in violation of liquor laws.

In 2005, then-administrator Wally Weatherwax was stripped of his duties and later resigned. The commission, which did not reveal what led to his powers being removed, reached a settlement with Weatherwax.

In February, commissioner Danny Kim resigned after he was arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Dewey Kim, a trial attorney, was hired in April 2006 and vowed to bring respect back to the commission.

City Council member Charles Djou has been a critic of the commission and said the investigation of Dewey Kim does not send a good message to the public.

"For the last several years, I have been pushing that the Honolulu Liquor Commission needs to do much more to restore the public trust and confidence in this agency," he said. "This latest revelation of problems and trouble at the Liquor Commission certainly doesn't lend itself to restoring public trust and confidence."

Over the years, Djou has proposed several changes to the commission, including making the top position an appointed post rather than a civil service job, and handing over enforcement responsibilities to the Honolulu Police Department. He said it may be time for the City Council to reconsider these proposals.

SB: Probe puts Liquor Commission chief on leave

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Hawaii Legislature cancels its traditional opening-day partying (its tough everywhere)

Hazy days of alcohol-fueled Opening Day blowouts with lobbyists, (reporters) and (other) insiders have long passed into history (like 8 or 9 years ago, eh?) but flowers, food and music have been staples.

Some staffers have grumbled privately that the directive is a little over the top — that there is nothing sinister about punch and pie — but most have accepted the order in the spirit of sacrifice.

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The Land Board will vote today on charging nonresidents at Ka Iwi and at the Pali Lookout

Residents would not be charged, and tourists would pay either a parking or entry fee but not both.

The approval of entry fees would give parking vendors an option to charge either upon entry or after a vehicle parks, said Curt Cottrell, the assistant administrator for the state Parks Division.

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Kaiser’s dialysis proposal faces opposition FROM COMPETITOR

WAILUKU - Kaiser Permanente's move to establish outpatient dialysis facilities on Maui is meeting resistance from the company currently providing such services on the island....(AND THEY GET A SAY BECAUSE...

Kaiser's already received a recommendation for approval of its certificate of need for dialysis facilities from the Tri-Isle Subarea Health Planning Council, and will seek the same favorable decision Friday from the Certificate of Need Review Panel. That panel has scheduled its application review for 9 a.m. Friday in the county Planning Department conference room in Wailuku.

A separate meeting with the Statewide Health Coordinating Council is scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 17 at the same location.

Ultimately, the decision to approve a certificate of need application is made by the State Health Planning and Development Agency administrator.


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Mauna Kea fight in court  (OHA's $50M shakedown)

The battle over Mauna Kea's future landed in Circuit Court on Wednesday, where attorneys for the University of Hawaii argued with a coalition of Hawaiian and environmental groups before Judge Glenn S. Hara.

AP: National Science Foundation picks Haleakala for site of solar telescope

RELATED: Thirty Meter Telescope Selects Mauna Kea -- Let the looting begin

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Jones Act lawsuit tossed out of court

Federal judge David Ezra chose to toss a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Jones Act, an 89-year-old law that restricts interstate shipping to Hawaii to only U.S.-built and U.S.-flagged ships.... Ezra said Monday that Carroll's plaintiffs appear to lack standing to sue.

See the related court documents here: Jones Act ruling - judges order , Jones Act lawsuit

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Hawaii Co. Ethics board backs off strong reform

Kenoi's most significant proposal is a ban on companies holding contracts with county government where county employees, their spouses or dependent children have a controlling interest....

The board is considering recommending that county employees, or their companies, be barred from contracts only within the employee's department or pertaining to the employee's current job description....

The Ethics Board may think the proposals go too far, but all 15 people who have submitted testimony disagree. Most said they couldn't believe this practice isn't already illegal.

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Ewa Field Marines among first to battle Japanese


Reverend Danny Degracia kicks off the first Marine Corps Air Station Ewa Memorial Dec. 6 at what remains of Ewa Field. MCAS Ewa could be the spot where U.S. service members first fired during WWII, according to John Bond, the event coordinator and avid WWII historian. Degracia served as the master of ceremonies.

Reverend Danny Degracia kicks off the first Marine Corps Air Station Ewa Memorial Dec. 6 at what remains of Ewa Field. MCAS Ewa could be the spot where U.S. service members first fired during WWII, according to John Bond, the event coordinator and avid WWII historian. Degracia served as the master of ceremonies. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Juan D. Alfonso) (Released)

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Britain, Long a Libel Mecca, Reviews Laws

A number of states, including New York, have passed legislation making English libel rulings difficult to enforce in American courts. Congress is considering similar legislation.

The catalyst for the New York law was the case of the American scholar Rachel Ehrenfeld, who was sued in the English courts by a Saudi billionaire, Khalid bin Mahfouz, after she accused him of channeling money to Al Qaeda in her book “Funding Evil.”

The book sold just 23 copies in England, but that was deemed sufficient to allow Mr. Mahfouz to bring his case here. Ms. Ehrenfeld, who refused to participate in the case or submit to the court’s jurisdiction, was ordered in a default judgment to pay him more than $225,000.

RELATED: Iraqi Billionaire threatens reporters investigating Obama-Rezko affair , Debunking Carter-Ruck's defense of Iraqi billionaire tied to Rezko and Obama

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