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Tuesday, May 3, 2022
May 3, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:13 PM :: 1775 Views

OHA Trustees Reject Maunakea Bill--not enough rent money

Helping Native Hawaiians Obtain Financial Capital

Hawaii Most Expensive, but Ranks 24th in Earnings

Hawaii lawmakers could approve $300 tax rebates this week

Second Amendment: "Hawaii is only engaged in a kind of malicious compliance”

Roe v Wade Repeal Would not Change Law in Hawaii

SA: … Belatti said she’s grateful she lives in a state where abortion rights have long been protected and are likely to remain secure.

In 1970, Hawaii became the first state to legalize abortion as a largely elective procedure, three years before Roe v. Wade allowed it on a national level….

Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott of Ewa Beach, who describes himself as pro-life, said, “My heart is happy with this. There is no such thing as an unwanted child.”

But McDermott also noted that reproductive rights have long been codified into law in Hawaii, and that’s unlikely to change….

read … Hawaii reacts to leaked Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade case

Bill 45: 30 year Tax Giveaway to Film Industry

SA: …  Under Bill 45 there are two levels of incentives for eligible businesses. The first level offers a property tax rebate for up to 30 years, while the second limits the rebate to three years. Both levels allow an expedited process for building permits and waive county fees.

To qualify for the first level, businesses must invest a minimum of $100 million in improvements to facilities, create 100 new full-time jobs and increase the draw of property taxes from the surrounding area.

To qualify for the second level, businesses must create a minimum of 50 new full-time jobs. A second-level participant could also qualify for city, federal or state grants to offset a yet-to-be-determined percentage of construction costs if it partners with an “anchor institution,” which is defined as a nonprofit or government entity such as the University of Hawaii, and invests at least $10 million in facility improvements.

Council member Augie Tulba … introduced the measure, along with Council member Carol Fukunaga…

Bill 45 does not mention the film industry by name, but nearly all of the testimony submitted in support of the measure to date is from production companies or filmmakers. Fukunaga and Tulba also said they’re eyeing businesses in the cyber security and health care industries as potential participants.

Chris Lee, who heads the UH’s Academy for Creative Media System, said more studio space needs to be constructed on Oahu to support bigger productions. He pointed out that the site of the state’s Diamond Head stages serves as a premier spot for television production but that it has its limitations….

Reality: Miske Mob Were All Union Drivers on Set of Hawaii 5-0

read … Honolulu City Council considering tax incentives for businesses along rail line

What Will The New Minimum Wage Mean For Hawaii’s Farmers?

CB: … With Hawaii’s minimum wage now all but set to lift to $18 by 2028, agriculture industry groups are concerned that they will have to absorb the extra cost of skilled labor — if they can even find the workers they need.

It comes as Hawaii’s farmers are facing increased costs for farm supplies like fertilizer, competition with imported food and supply chain issues….

Farmers are largely at the whim of the hospitality and retail markets, who essentially tell them how much they will pay for their product. In Hawaii, that is complicated by the availability of comparatively cheap imported food products….

Farmers received 16 cents for every consumer dollar spent on food in retail, U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows. …

But things like fertilizer and pesticide cost 40% more for Hawaii’s farmers when compared to the mainland, while farms generate half the sales and are two to three times smaller, according to a 2021 University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization report….

“What is a $1.90 an hour increase? Almost $4,000 per employee, based on a 40-hour week,” Miyamoto said. “And that’s just this (coming) year.”

Notwithstanding, the gross wage rate for Hawaii’s 5,000 farm laborers in October last year was $18.82 for a 37.6-hour work week, according to USDA data. In 2019, in the same month, farm laborers were earning $16.62 per hour in a slightly shorter work week….

“What I’ve heard from farmers is that they just can’t compete with other industries,” Kirk said….

read … What Will The New Minimum Wage Mean For Hawaii’s Farmers?

Tax returns could bring much-needed assistance to HI

KHON: … With inflation at 8.5% in March, Hawaii’s estimated 166,000 residents living in poverty get hit hardest….

Eric Stinton is a teacher at Kailua Intermediate School who says the majority of kids he sees struggling with reading come from unstable, low-income homes.

He believes even a small amount of money for families will have a positive impact….

read … Tax returns could bring much-needed assistance to HI

Fired Inspector Exposes Corruption in Building Division

HTH: … Kapihe said in the lawsuit she was on a ride-along with one inspector and witnessed him meeting up with someone at a job site and putting “what appeared to be a significant amount of cash,” into his backpack before leaving without conducting an inspection. She said she was told to stay in the vehicle.

The inspector also spent a good portion of the day tending to his own private and personal business, she said, including a structure he was building in the Ainaloa subdivision in Puna, a property that was not on their list of site visits for the day. He also went to his home, to a bank and then to a restaurant where they had lunch, with, at one point the inspector telling Kapihe to wait in the restaurant while he met someone outside, she said….

read … Ex-employee charges discrimination in Building Division

Hawaii Plans To Destroy Expired Covid Tests That Cost $22.5M

CB: … The Hawaii Health Department plans to destroy 750,000 expired Covid-19 tests that were bought in 2020 at a cost of $22.5 million.

Critics say that it’s not only a massive waste, but that the tests could have been used to save lives.

“If anyone else in the state had wasted ($22 million), heads would roll, there is no other way to say it,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich of Premier Medical Group Hawaii. “This is unconscionable.”

Miscovich said the tests were in huge demand last year. He said the Big Island asked for thousands of the tests to screen travelers, but the state refused.

The Health Department bought a huge bulk order of the B-D Veritor test kits back in 2020, each one containing 30 tests at a cost of $30 per test….

The DOH will now pay a contractor more than $63,000 to destroy the tests….

read … Hawaii Plans To Destroy Expired Covid Tests That Cost $22.5M

Hilo surgery center is in jeopardy of closing: Owners allege hospital is discouraging doctors from using the facility

HTH: … The surgery center, which is owned by a consortium of local physicians, has been in operation since 2000. Hilo Medical Center bought a one-third stake in the outpatient facility for $500,000 in 2010, but later divested itself of its minority ownership stake.

“We lose money every month,” Dr. Peter Matsuura, an orthopedic surgeon who’s a part-owner and board member of the outpatient facility, said last week. “There’s a limit as to how long we can sustain the loss, obviously. We need 100-odd cases a month to break even, and we’ve been below that. … And our numbers fluctuate. Sometimes, we’re pretty good and other times, we’re way below.

“In the past decade or so, the hospital has been hiring all the new surgical providers, including my cousin. And they are strongly discouraged, is the right word, maybe, from coming to the surgery center. There’s one or two of them who come, but most of them do not.”…

read … Hilo surgery center is in jeopardy of closing: Owners allege hospital is discouraging doctors from using the facility

Is cryptocurrency dead in Hawaii?

KHON: … The bill that would have established a program for the licensure, regulation and oversight of digital currency companies in Hawaii was indefinitely deferred Friday afternoon.

It’s unfortunate news for the cryptocurrency companies participating in the Digital Currency Innovation Lab (DCIL), the state’s first pilot program that allows digital currency issuers to do business in Hawaii without having to first obtain a state money transmitter license….

Without the passing House Bill 2108, the DCIL is scheduled to close for transactions on June 30, 2022, for both businesses and consumers…. 

read … Is cryptocurrency dead in Hawaii?

Legislative Agenda:  

Corona Virus News:



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