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Wednesday, February 24, 2010
February 24, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:02 AM :: 12639 Views


LINK>>>Akaka Bill passes House 245-164

Finance committee tries to find alternatives  (GET hike deferred …for now)

Lawmakers looking to close a $1.23 billion hole in the state budget decided to look at sources other than the four counties' share of the hotel room tax.

Working late last night, the House Finance Committee also decided against hiking the general excise tax.

The bill originally proposed to scoop the Transient Accommodations Tax from the counties. Rather than take the full amount — estimated at $100 million for the upcoming fiscal year — the committee instead decided to temporarily cap the amount of TAT money going to the counties at the current level of $94.3 million a year.

"Moving forward I think it's a good thing that we're keeping it alive," said Minority Leader Rep. Lynn Finnegan (R, Mapunapuna-Foster Village), a member of the Finance Committee.

(This leaves gambling and the sale of ceded lands -- because cutting back on waste, fraud, and corruption is simply not an option)

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2010 election shaping up to be bad for incumbents

Today is the last recess day for the 25th state Legislature. Legislators are supposed to use the recess to go back to their communities to tell voters what they did, what they hope to do and how it is going.

Some did that, some didn't—but I am willing to bet that few among the 76 return to work tomorrow thinking they are driving off a cliff. They might want to check their GPS.The big overhaul in government does not appear to be in the offing, nor does any serious restructuring of taxes.

"They won't move forward, they won't move back—so they will continue to get hit, because they are sitting ducks," said one legislative observer.

That is where the fall election comes in. Not even Hawaii's diminutive GOP will be able to ignore a vacuum as large as the one presented by this year's Legislature.

It may not be a full-blown Tea Party, but this year's Legislature may be brewing up more than mamaki and Chai.

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SB: Hannemann's glass half full (setup for a fall)

City Councilman Charles Djou, a Republican who is likely to run for Congress, likened Hannemann's speech to a bikini, saying "What he said was interesting, but what he hid is what's important."

Besides raising eyebrows, Djou misses the point.

While it's true that Hannemann didn't say in his speech whether he's planning to raise property taxes or other fees or cut programs, that information won't be concealed for long. His plans will be in full view next week, in the budget proposal he presents to the City Council.

It's highly unlikely that the mayor—especially if he is planning to run for governor as expected—would raise Oahu taxpayers' hopes and expectations only to dash them a few days later.

(Abercrombie’s supporters at SB preparing to thrash Mufi when he does just that)

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UPW Unit 1 to get furloughs: No other wage reduction expected; governor has indicated she will sign

About 9,000 blue-collar government workers would get work furloughs amounting to an 8 percent or 9 percent pay cut under an agreement reached between United Public Workers Unit 1 and the four county mayors.

But union members would not get hit with any other wage reductions in the contract that runs until June 30, 2011, UPW state director Dayton Nakanelua said yesterday….

Twenty-four furlough days amount to an 8 percent or 9 percent pay cut, Nakanelua said.

The arrangement is similar to one worked out with members of the Hawai'i Government Employees Association…

In a one-sentence statement issued by the governor's office Monday, Lingle said: "We are glad to see the mayors have decided to agree to our proposal, and that the UPW is now on board."

"I'm not aware that was the governor's plan," Nakanelua said in response to Lingle's statement.

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Jeremy Harris’ 'Mystery Woman' Acquitted In Criminal Case

The defendant was Lisa-Katharine Otsuka, who, in 2002, refused to testify in the grand jury investigation of the campaign of then-Honolulu Mayor and governor candidate Jeremy Harris. Otsuka had received money from the campaign, but refused to testify, leading her to be dubbed a "Mystery Woman" in the Hawaii media. The investigation led to criminal charges against a number of Harris' contributors.

After Otsuka refused to testify, she was charged with two unrelated theft cases. The first, for allegedly stealing fundraising proceeds from a cultural dance group, ended in a mistrial when a jury could not agree on a verdict.

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Report Ranks Honolulu No. 2 In Traffic Congestion  (2 weeks of work every year)

The Inrix Traffic Scoreboard ranks traffic congestion in the top 100 cities by monitoring GPS systems and other mobile devices used across the country.

"If you have a random 30-minute commute in Honolulu you have to add over 80 hours of delay each year to your commute," said Rick Shumann, of Inrix Traffic Scoreboard.

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Maui County spokeswoman Mahina Martin said the county provides funding to support the college's nursing program, although it is a state program. Without the transient accommodations tax funding, the county's projected budget shortfall would rise from $53 million to $70 million, she said.

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Koke‘e lovers want park revenue to stay on Kaua‘i

LIHU‘E — A bill that would keep state park revenues on the island where they are generated instead of spreading them across Hawai‘i is being touted by Kaua‘i legislators and the advisory group tasked with preserving and protecting Koke‘e State Park.

State Sen. Gary Hooser, D-Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, said he introduced the bill specifically with Koke‘e and Na Pali in mind

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Groups holding Haiti relief fundraiser Saturday in Mililani

A garage sale and car wash sponsored by The Links, Incorporated and the Honolulu Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, will be held Saturday with proceeds going to earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.  The event is in Mililani at House of Light, 94-359 Makohilani St., from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Group of lenders take ownership of Turtle Bay Resort from Oaktree Capital

A consortium of lenders today assumed ownership of Turtle Bay Resort, resolving a more than two-year foreclosure case filed against former owner Oaktree Capital Management LLC by lender Credit Suisse.

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Hamamoto welcomed to Saint Louis

So many ironies, it is hard to decide where to begin . . .

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Sabeel: Israel has right to exist, but not at Palestinians' expense (obviously preparing to launch Israel Boycott in Hawaii)

The same gaggle of “enlightened, conscious and progressive” appeasers who embrace Islamist terror, Maoism, and 9-11 trooothers, and would have had us celebrate Islam Day on Sept 11 Julian, attempt to dictate policy to Israel.  Since they cannot defend the USA, they certainly cannot defend Israel, in spite of their threadbare claims to the contrary.

RELATED: On the trail to Hawaii Islam Day: Saudi money, Libyan assassins , Hawaii “Islam Day” secretly marks September 11The World According to Sabeel , RACIST ROAD SHOW, "Sabeel´s Ecumenical Facade" , Discover the Networks

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Casket of Ewa Beach soldier killed in Afghanistan arrives in U.S.

A soldier from 'Ewa Beach was killed in Senjaray, Afghanistan, on Sunday when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device, the Pentagon said today.

Pfc. JR Salvacion, 27, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, out of Fort Carson, Colo.

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