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Sunday, January 28, 2018
January 28, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:48 PM :: 4058 Views

What is the state of our state? 

Oops! DoTax Math Error!

$63M HECO Rate Cut Coming? PUC Seeks Lower Utility Rates Due To Trump Tax Cut

IM: The Hawaii Consumer Advocate wrote a letter to the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission on January 18, 2018 noting that the 40 percent tax cut should be passed onto consumers so that their rates are not unreasonable….

HECO`s Revenue Taxes on Electric Revenues for TY 2017 is $157M. A 40 percent reduction in taxes would reduce taxes by $63 million….. 

BIN: PUC Opens Investigation of Legislation’s Impact on Public Utilities in Hawai‘i

read … PUC Seeks Lower Utility Rates Due To Trump Tax Cut

Thanks to Republican Tax Cuts, Walmart promises $1.5M in bonuses for close to 4,000 Hawaii employees

PBN: Close to 4,000 Walmart employees in Hawaii will receive bonuses of up to $1,000, the bog box retailer said on Monday.

Walmart said the one-time cash bonuses, which will be awarded to employees statewide, total $1.5 million.

The retailer said full and part-time hourly associates will be eligible for the bonuses based on length of service, with associates with at least 20 years qualifying for $1,000….

Full-time hourly associates in the U.S. will receive 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave. Salaried associates will also receive six weeks of paid parental leave, according to the retailer.

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) said the new adoption benefit, available to both full-time hourly and salaried associates, will total $5,000 per child and may be used for expenses such as adoption agency fees, translation fees and legal or court costs.

“We applaud Walmart for their leadership investing in their employees,” Tina Yamaki, president of Retail Merchants of Hawaii, said in a statement. “What a great way to start 2018. Walmart associates receiving bonuses will surely help to make our island communities and economy even stronger.”

According to CNBC, the retailer’s one-time payouts nationwide will total $400 million.

read … Thank a Republican

Worth the cost? Hawaii County Council to Vote on $40M GE Tax Hike

HTH: Since 2000, Hawaii County’s population has risen by 33.5 percent. The number of county employees has increased by 27.6 percent.

But during that time, the county budget, adjusted for inflation, has doubled….

In 2000, there were 2,053 county employees servicing a population of 148,677 at a cost of $175.8 million, or $249.4 million in 2017 dollars, according to a West Hawaii Today analysis of census data, county budgets and financial audits.

Today, there are an estimated 198,449 residents being served by 2,479 employees, with a price tag of $491 million.

The cost of employees is expected to increase in the preliminary county budget that Mayor Harry Kim is required to present to the County Council by March 1. But the number of employees might not….

The state Legislature gave the counties authority to raise the general excise tax, or GET, provided they have an ordinance in place by March 31. Kim has sent a bill to the County Council, which is expected to take it up Feb. 6….

A potential GET hike is estimated to raise anywhere from $25 million to as much as $40 million for Hawaii County annually. While the money can be used only for roads and Mass Transit, adding it as a revenue source could free up money spent on transportation for other projects…..

read … Worth the cost? Residents offer mixed reviews of services as budget for the government grows

Coco Palms Grifters Go For 20% Cut of the Action

KGI: What if the Coco Palms landowners and Charles Hepa and Noa Mau-Esprito worked together?

The developers could make an agreement that permits them to stay and live on the land as the ancient Hawaiians did. Allow tourists to only visit certain areas, such as their taro patch, to learn about Hawaiian farming methods. Leave them to live peacefully in the back of the property and keep visitors away from their private area.

The hotel could feature programs in Hawaiian culture and give 10 to 20 percent of all revenue derived from the culture back to the Hawaiian people of Kauai.

I think it would be fair and prudent for the state to enact a Hawaiian cultural tax on any corporation or business that derives profits from the native culture, an example being hotel luaus….

The Hawaiian culture is the attraction and its seems fair that revenue collected by any hotel luau or cultural facility such as the Polynesian Cultural Center should pay a Hawaiian cultural tax of 10 to 20 percent of profits…..

Reality: Occupants have no claim

read … Let’s work together on Coco Palms

Hanabusa’s Borreca Wants Ige to Continually Relive Missile Alert False Alarm

Borreca: …Thanks to the “This is not a drill” Saturday morning missile mishap, the thinking about the August gubernatorial primary race has been completely rearranged. It put the Ige and his campaign on the defensive. If this were a normal race, the incumbent would be enjoying the high ground, defining the campaign issues and be the favorite to win both the primary and general election.

One botched mouse click by a state employee changed all that.

After the-missiles-are-coming mistake, Ige apologized, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency head Vern Miyagi apologized, Ige briefly answered questions and then promptly turned off whatever political sensibilities he possessed.

Although he attended a legislative hearing looking into the missile warning, Ige left, virtually in mid-question, saying he had another commitment. Yes, it is a mystery how Ige could think that any other commitment was more important than continuing to explain his administration’s bungled response, but leave he did.

Ige was then offered a chance to use all the power of his position and authority to set the record straight by including a serious discussion of the mistake in his annual State of the State message.

If there is a time for a careful, uninterrupted explanation, it would have been in the formal setting of a joint session of the Hawaii Legislature…

(Translation: Borreca supports Hanabusa.) .

read … Inexplicably, Ige ignored prime opportunities to send strong leadership message

Missile scare was nothing but warmup for election

Shapiro: >> The state terrified residents and visitors by accidentally warning of a nuclear missile attack on Hawaii. We all thought we were toast, but in the end only Gov. David Ige was.

>> Ige knew within two minutes it was a false alarm, but it took 38 minutes for an official correction — partly because he forgot his Twitter password. He was like a deer stuck in the hindsight.

>> U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who wants Ige’s job, scolded that the fiasco shouldn’t have happened. Hanabusa vs. Ige shapes up as an epic battle between Captain Obvious and Captain Underpants….

read … Missile scare was nothing but warmup for election

Botched Illegal Gambling Case Prompts Lawsuit Against Kaneshiro, Kealoha

CB: Eight people who were the subject of one of the largest illegal gambling stings in Hawaii history are suing Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro and one of his top deputies, Katherine Kealoha, saying they committed retaliatory and malicious prosecution after one of the plaintiffs compared Kaneshiro to the mobster John Gotti on TV news in 2013.  (That’s a terrible thing to say about John Gotti.)

Also named as defendants in the case are Vernon Branco, who was a lead investigator for the prosecuting attorney’s office in the gambling case, and the City and County of Honolulu….

PDF: Full Text of Lawsuit (35 pgs)

read … Botched Illegal Gambling Case Prompts Lawsuit Against Prosecutors

Kauai Council Wants to End Term Limits

KGI: A resolution that would end term limits for County Council members could be on the ballot in August.

The amendment was proposed Wednesday by Councilmember Ross Kagawa….

During a public comment session on the matter Wednesday, Kauai resident Ken Taylor said he was opposed to putting the issue back on the ballot because the whole point of having term limits is to open seats up for new people with new ideas.

“They may be smarter and better for the community than you are,” Taylor said. “The county can do without you. They did without you before you were on the council.”…

As far as term limits being added to the ballot, (anti-GMO hypester) Cowden said she feels good about it.

At the end of the current term, Council Chair Mel Rapozo and Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura will have served four consecutive two-year terms and will be termed out per the county charter…..  (B-bye!)

KGI: Do you think Kauai county should end term limits on council members?

read … Kagawa: End council term limits

Maui waters claim eight lives in two weeks

KHON: …Eight drownings in last two weeks on the island of Maui, two of them yesterday afternoon and this morning a man was found floating face down off Makena.

In the most recent case, lifeguards brought the visitor from California to shore and paramedics revived him, but he is hospitalized in critical condition.

The numbers are staggering and raise serious questions.

Six of the eight people that drowned were visitors. All eight were men, but aside from their gender there is little that connects them….

read … Maui waters claim eight lives in two weeks

Punahou president: 2 former students say coach sexually abused them

HNN: …Two former Punahou School students have reported being sexually abused by a former assistant coach of the girls basketball team, the school's president told parents in a letter Saturday.

Punahou President Jim Scott said the alleged abused happened from 2005 to 2006.

The coach was at Punahou from 2001 to 2004, and was not employed at Punahou when the alleged abuse happened. ….

SA: Punahou investigating sexual abuse of two former students

read … Sex Abuse

Nooses Amp Up Hawaii Racial workplace lawsuits—Star-Adv Blames Trump

SA: …Though the cases started several years apart, they share similar characteristics.

Both employees say they complained to management about racial discrimination in their respective workplaces. One was at Hawaiian Airlines, the other at The Queen’s Medical Center.

They both sought help from their employers’ human resources departments.

And despite such efforts, they both subsequently found nooses — one was an actual noose, the other an image of one — on or next to their workplace lockers.

Two months before discovering the noose image taped to her locker, the Queen’s employee found a vulgar, racist, sexist note in her work mailbox, referring to her as a lazy b—— and n——. It was unsigned.

Both workers filed lawsuits that are pending in state court. The lawsuits emphasize the powerful symbolism of nooses….  

What is clear from the data, though, is that black workers in Hawaii are more likely to file discrimination complaints than workers in general.

Even though African-Americans make up less than 3 percent of the workforce and of the state population, they filed an average of nearly 30 percent of the race-related employment discrimination complaints over the past decade, according to the commission data....

Best Comment: “Incidents happened Aug 2016 and December 2011. Barack Obama was in office at that time not Trump yet this "Fake News" so called journalist tries to pin this on the current president?!!!!”

read … Racial harassment alleged in separate workplace lawsuits

Spectrum will exile Olelo channels to 180s

SA: …Slamming these channels into the digital 180s might cause them to disappear from the newspaper TV grid and force subscribers to pay for special equipment to view. If this happens, fundamental access to government will be curtailed. In this important election year, candidates themselves will have their free speech diminished and civic groups using these channels might as well talk to tumbleweeds and crickets.

To add insult to injury, Charter — which is arguably the worst cable operator in the nation — is refusing to transmit local community access channels in high definition (HD) on a par with local broadcast stations like PBS. It is thumbing its nose at state regulation and stifling your voice.

Spectrum is so confident that the cable division in state government won’t do anything about it they are bound and determined to do it anyway…. 

ILind: Mayors opposed planned move of public-education-gov’t channels

read … Spectrum will exile Olelo channels to 180s

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