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Sunday, February 21, 2010
February 21, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:14 PM :: 8255 Views

LINK>>>Akaka Preparing New Senate Bill: House Rules Committee to consider Akaka Bill Monday

ADV: Too soon to give up on cutting costs

Legislative leaders appropriately talk about keeping all of their options on the table.  But right now it seems as if the table is cluttered with dozens of options for raising taxes, with ideas for cutting costs already dropped on the floor.

SB: Budget talks must include cutting costs 

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Honolulu rail-transit schedule slips again: City doesn't expect groundbreaking until late this year

City Councilman Charles Djou, an outspoken opponent of the rail plan, said that the delay in breaking ground is a result of complications arising from Hannemann's "my way or the railway" approach to pushing the project.

"After the vote in 2008, what he should have done was build consensus in the community and reach out to opponents," Djou said. "He continued to refuse to hold public hearings, and as a consequence there is a lack of public confidence. These are self-inflicted wounds.

"This is bad for everyone. His bullheaded style is unhealthy. Even though I opposed rail, the voters voted to do it. So if we're going to do it, let's do it right and not waste the taxpayers' money."

RELATED: Proposed Honolulu rail hubs haven't drawn investor interest  (Because they don’t believe it will ever be built.)

PDF PDF: Rail-related contributions to Abercrombie campaign  ($56,650)

PDF PDF: Rail-related contribution to Aiona campaign  ($25)

PDF PDF: Rail-related contributions to Hannemann campaign  ($107,332)

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Vote miscount keeps flags flying (Hearing 9AM Wednesday)

The "Flag Pole" bill is still alive. A public hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m., Wednesday.

RELATED: VIDEO: Flagpole bill had 17 votes for recall

Democrat Advertiser: We love the flag. Now back to work.  (Democrats, embarassed by the exposure of their own inner nature, are now trying to paint the bill as a distraction.  Of course the ONLY thing “distracting” about the flag bill is some Democrats’ opposition to it.)

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Kalapa: Zenith of ignorance reached in state's legislative arena  (Finally!)

Perhaps it is the fiscal crisis facing the state, but it is more apparent this year that there is a lot of ignorance about just what makes the economy run.  The other day, the House Committee on Economic Development heard a slew of bills that would offer tax credits for this and that, but one of the measures would offer a tax credit for hotel renovation and construction….

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Shapiro: A taxing dilemma

The problem with recession tax increases is that they're seldom rescinded when the economy hits its next boom cycle, resulting in a fatter surplus and more new spending that plants the seeds for an even bigger budget crisis in the next inevitable recession as the expanded spending, especially payroll, proves unsustainable but difficult to roll back.

Then the drumbeat begins for another recession tax increase that starts the cycle anew.

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Hawaii's special treatment courts threatened by fiscal crisis

As a result of budget cuts, the 11 treatment courts, including those for adults with mental health issues and families with substance abuse problems, are handling fewer cases, providing less treatment and delaying more services, Judiciary officials say. At least one court is at risk of running out of treatment money by the end of the fiscal year, five have wait lists for accepting new clients, and O'ahu's Adult Drug Court has reduced its treatment capacity by nearly 20 percent.

During his address to the Legislature last month, Moon warned that more cuts could have a devastating effect on court operations, even hinting at the possibility of eliminating the alternative service-oriented programs altogether.

Because of cuts already imposed, the chief justice said, the O'ahu drug court reduced its treatment capacity to 130 clients, from 160, leaving 30 defendants on a wait list and likely headed for prison. Putting 30 more people into an already overcrowded prison system would cost the state $1.5 million annually, Moon said, compared with the roughly $877,000 budget for the O'ahu drug court for this fiscal year.

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Hawaii Bill Would Limit Business Campaign Money

HONOLULU -- Groups supporting openness in government are urging Hawaii's Legislature to pass laws limiting corporate influence.

Common Cause Hawaii and the League of Women Voters of Hawaii are pushing a bill requiring businesses' campaign contributions to go through political action committees, and those businesses would only be allowed to transfer $1,000 to their PAC.

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Occupancy slide drives hotels to foreclosure

“Although the occupancy rate of 50 percent is alarming, it’s not unusual, especially during the economic environment we’re in,” Office of Economic Development Director George Costa said in an e-mail Friday. November and December typically signify some of the “lowest occupancy periods of the year.”

Kaua‘i has “experienced a cycle of very low and rebounding occupancies” within the past 30 years, including following Hurricane ‘Iwa in 1982 when hotel occupancy rates were also some 50 to 60 percent, Costa said.

This time, however, hotels are reportedly struggling to stay afloat, according to data from Hawai‘i real estate firm Colliers Monroe Friedlander.

Three resorts on island — ResortQuest Kaua‘i Beach at Maka‘iwa (now called Aston Kaua‘i Beach at Maka‘iwa), Aloha Beach Resort and Hilton Kaua‘i Beach Resort (now called Kaua‘i Beach Resort) — are either 60 days or more late on their mortgage payments or the lender has foreclosed upon the property and “taken back title,” said Colliers Monroe Friedlander Vice President and Division Manager Mark Bratton on Friday.

There are others heading in a similar direction, he said.

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University center faces little opposition

Few objections are expected over plans to build a college in West Hawaii, according to a draft supplemental environmental impact statement released Friday.

(Keynesianism Hawaii-style.  When the economy is booming, unleash the enviro-shake-down scammers.  When the economy tanks, tell then to sit down and shut up for a while.)

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