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Saturday, April 29, 2023
April 29, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:20 PM :: 1575 Views

HB1375 deferred: HTA is just a can to kick into the next session

Chancellor Solemsaas leaving Hawaiʻi Community College 

Laughing at You: Hawaii lawmakers nix broad tax relief proposals -- Money goes to Public Employees Instead

SA: … Hawaii taxpayers can expect less generous tax relief than proposed earlier this year, under legislation positioned for final votes next week at the Legislature.

A few tax credit program changes benefiting lower-income households to the tune of $125 million advanced in a bill approved unanimously Friday by negotiators in the state House of Representatives and Senate.

But bigger and broader Hawaii taxpayer relief proposals this year entertained by lawmakers and promoted by Gov. Josh Green were nixed Friday in favor of the smaller tax credit items.

The agreed-upon tax relief was influenced by recent changes in the state’s financial position, including a reduced estimated revenue surplus that was around $2 billion earlier this year, and a new union contract for public school teachers costing an added $577 million over four years….

(Translation: They took your tax cut money and gave it to HSTA, again, because HSTA can get them reelected and you can't.)

The original version of HB 954 proposed to increase the value of Hawaii’s earned income tax credit, which reduces the tax burden of low- to moderate-income taxpayers and can provide a tax refund to those with little to no tax liability.

Later, though, other things were added to the bill — mainly general state income tax cuts by boosting tax bracket thresholds, the standard deduction and the personal exemption.

Those three tax cut items were part of Green’s proposal in January to provide Hawaii taxpayers broad tax savings under what he called an “audacious” effort to deliver economic relief to households burdened by Hawaii’s high and rising cost of living.

Green’s proposal also included increasing the earned income tax credit along with a tax credit for low-income renters, the food excise tax credit and a child and dependent care credit in addition to creating a new maximum $500 credit for many public and private school teachers who spend their own money on school supplies.

The cost of these things in Green’s proposal was estimated at $313 million in the next fiscal year, plus around $20 million in each subsequent year to reach $417 million in fiscal year 2029.

Green, in his State of the State speech in January, said his income tax reduction plan would save a family of four in every income tax bracket nearly $2,000 and that lower-income families would see greater savings.

On Friday, HB 954 was amended by the House- Senate conference committee to double the value of the earned income tax credit to 40% of its federal counterpart from an existing 20% while also increasing the food excise tax credit and the child and dependent care credit.

The estimated state cost, and benefit to qualifying taxpayers, is $42 million for the earned income credit, $36 million for the food excise tax credit and $47 million for the child and dependent care credit.

“This tax break over $120 million should be well-needed relief to these families,” Holt said ….

(CLUE: Legislators never intended for this to pass.  All session long, they were just pandering to middle class voters.)

HB954: Text, Status

CB:  HB954 -- leading lawmakers refused to discuss the bill or disclose its contents after the vote.

CB: The "green fee" to slap extra charges on tourists failed, and bills to change the state tax code turned out to be more modest than the governor proposed in January.

read … Hawaii lawmakers nix broad tax relief proposals

Just Pandering: Hawaii’s Green Fee Proposal Dies At The Last Minute — Again

CB: … The green fee measure that had been advancing through the Legislature proposed charging Hawaii visitors a $50 fee to offset their impacts on the islands’ fragile but heavily trafficked natural resources.

On Friday morning, conferees from the House and Senate looking to reach an agreement on Senate Bill 304 discussed watering it down by removing the visitor impact fee program itself and instead calling for state officials to come up with an “implementation plan.”

But later in the day, during a whirlwind final round of hearings to approve bills through conference committee, the bill failed to advance….

(CLUE: Legislators never intended for this to pass.  All session long, they were just pandering to ’overtourism’ sentiment.)

BH: $50 Hawaii Green Fee Dead | What’s Hawaii Next Plan?

read … Hawaii’s Green Fee Proposal Dies At The Last Minute — Again

A 'Cattle Call' At The Capitol Closes Out Conference Committee

CB: … A number of sunshine bills were among those set to be taken up at 4:30 p.m. in a very crowded Conference Room 309 (capacity 102). An overflow crowd watched two large TV screens set up outside the room as legislators rushed through the list of bills before a 6 p.m. deadline.

Your Sunshine Bloggers were tracking until the bloody end. Here’s what happened:

Senate Bill 1543, the bill to publicly finance state and county elections that was gutted twice this week and now would do very little to make campaigns more competitive, is dead. It did not receive a final vote, and no explanation was given….

“The fact that they wouldn’t approve it when we were asking for no money tells you all you need to know about how they truly feel,” Evan Weber of the progressive activist group Our Hawaii said afterward.

House Bill 719, the public records bill that allows for a capping of copying charges and a waiver in some cases, is dead. It did not receive a final vote, and no explanation was given.

And Senate Bill 627, letting candidates use campaign funds to take care of kids and other family, is dead. It did not receive a final vote, and no explanation was given….

But Senate Bill 1076, which calls for a digital voter guide for Hawaii elections to help voters understand who and what they are voting for, was approved.….

Negotiators this week approved House Bill 1294, which will require the state Office of Elections and Campaign Spending Commission to include a candidate’s legal name “wherever the name requested to be printed on the ballot is used, except on the ballot.”…

SA: Food, agriculture bills appear to fail in final hearing

read … A 'Cattle Call' At The Capitol Closes Out Conference Committee

Your Tax Dollars Help Transsexuals Meet up With Vulnerable Homeless Children

HNN: … Family Promise of Hawaii has helped homeless families and children for almost two decades by providing food and services at its headquarters near Chinatown.

On Saturday at Aala Park, the nonprofit is holding a Keiki community fair.

“Families coming to the event will be able to take ... bags that have just a variety of shelf stable foods,” said Ryan Catalani, executive director of Family Promise of Hawaii.

During the event, there will be a children’s book reading by drag artists, including Dan Paul Roberts also known as “Candi Shell.”…

State Rep. Diamond Garcia, chair of the Hawaii Republican Party, said on social media he’s opposed to tax dollars being used to bring drag story hours to kids.

“On behalf of the thousands local families in my district, that is not OK,” said Garcia, in an Instagram video.

The state Health Department says its contract with Family Promise is to support services for homeless children and families and that some funding went to rentals for tents, table and chairs for the event….

Freshman state Rep. Elijah Pierick, also a Republican, echoed the same sentiments as Garcia.

“A drag story storyteller will be a part of this keiki event. That’s an adult male dressing up as a woman reading stories to children,” said Pierick, on his Instagram page…. 

RELATED: ‘Drag Mother and Daughter Duo’ to Star at Aala Park Drag Queen Story Hour for Homeless Children  

RELATED:  VIDEO: Rep Elijah Pierick Responds to Drag Queen Story Hour

read … Procurement Violation

West Oahu: Lack of Force Keeps Bums Away from Free Shelter

HNN: … Staff at the camp set up at Nani Kai Beach Park in Maili say it can house around 35 people maximum capacity. On Friday, the number of people at the property sat around 25.

That’s the highest since it opened in the beginning of the month….

Staff say the rules include no drugs, no alcohol, and no violence…

At the HONU camp in Maili, staff say they actually don’t have any space for more single men, but there are openings for couples and families.

The camp will be there for 60 more days….

SA: Homeless man accused of $737K fraud in COVID-19 relief funds

read … Lack of trust, rules keep some away from city’s mobile homeless camp in West Oahu

Rail officials OK move to seize family parcel in Kalihi

SA: … The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board of directors voted Thursday to approve Resolution 4, which notifies the City Council of the rail agency’s intent to seize by eminent domain the property at 1829 Dillingham Blvd., despite its owners’ objections. The board’s vote follows an April 13 recommendation by HART’s Government Affairs-Legal Matters Committee to pursue this action.

The City Council now has 45 days to approve or object to the condemnation by adoption of a resolution of the notification to acquire the property, according to HART. Upon either approval or no action by the Council, the board of directors will be requested to approve a resolution authorizing the acquisition of the property by eminent domain….

read … Rail officials OK move to seize family parcel in Kalihi

Legislative Agenda:

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