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Friday, May 10, 2024
May 10, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:33 AM :: 1080 Views

After Nine Months of Toxic Lies, DoH Finally Admits: "We do not expect to find health impacts caused by toxins in the wildfire ash"

Fairness one reason to expand GET break for medical services

Akina lauds legislative gains, but Hamada has reservations

Personal income in Hawaii might contract this year

SA: … A shrinking population and a weak labor force will constrain Hawaii’s economy this year and cause inflation-adjusted personal income growth to slow along with broader measures of economic health.

That was the opinion of University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization Executive Director Carl Bonham, who discussed UHERO’s second-quarter forecast Thursday during a news conference.

UHERO expects Hawaii’s real personal income will slow below 1% this year and that real gross domestic product will drop from 3.6% growth in 2023 to 1.5%. GDP is the inflation- adjusted calculation reflecting the value of all the goods and services produced by an economy in a given year, so a decrease signals that an economy is shrinking.

Meanwhile, UHERO has raised its inflation forecast for the year to over 4% and is anticipating that the payroll job situation and tourism will be a bit worse than previously anticipated….

UHERO’s report does not even take into account the potential economic disruptions from Maui or other counties passing new land-use restrictions for vacation rentals, which in recent years have represented much of the growth in lodging units.

Population changes, which have reduced government revenue, also are factoring into economic health, he said.

“Oahu has been losing population for several years now, and our forecast is for that to continue to be very, very stagnant,” Bonham said. “Our forecast for Maui is a 3,000- or 4,000-person loss of population between 2023 and 2024 and a very slow recovery.”

He said in contrast, Hawaii island has seen the most population growth.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise that the county with the most population growth is also the county that has added the most housing units and has sort of the most affordable housing situation of any of the other counties,” he said….

LINK: UHERO: 'Population slowing will reduce future growth'

read … Personal income in Hawaii might contract this year

Hawaii bill exempts certain medical services from general excise tax

SA: … A Senate bill exempting private health care providers from general excise taxes for services to patients with Medicaid, Medicare and TRICARE has made it to the governor’s desk.

Senate Bill 1035 Opens in a new tab, introduced by state Sen. Lorraine Inouye, is hailed as long overdue by numerous private-practice doctors and dentists, along with various health care groups, who testified that the tax burden was incongruous for certain medical providers.

Under current law, medical services provided by doctors at a nonprofit hospital such as Kaiser Permanente or The Queen’s Health System are exempt from the GET.

However, doctors working for an independent or group practice or clinic are subject to the full GET.

The costs are not fully reimbursed by Medicaid, Medicare and TRICARE, leaving providers to cover the differentials. At the same time, federal law prohibits passing the GET to patients….

read … Hawaii bill exempts certain medical services from general excise tax

As admitted child predator nears sentencing, police open more cases against psychologist

HNN: … After being indicted for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old patient, Lelah sent a written confession to Hawaii County prosecutors admitting he’s a child sex predator, court documents show.

Despite being armed with that information, the prosecutor gave Lelah a plea deal that will dramatically reduce the time he’ll spend behind bars.

Meanwhile, officials with the Hawaii Island Police Department just confirmed more cases against the child psychologist have been opened.

“There’s all these worries and fears that come up when you hear about this. That your child was alone in a room for hours on end with this person that’s an admitted pedophile,” K.C. said.

Lelah saw countless children over nearly two decades at his practice, known as The Loving Service Foundation. “He was located up at the top of this mountain on a sprawling campus,” K.C. said. “And there’s these huge buildings that look like it would be set up for a clinic with many doctors. It took me a while to realize, no. He’s the only person on this property.”

K.C. says she was referred to Lelah back in 2021, by her son’s primary care provider after the boy’s school raised concerns about the way he was acting around other kids.

He was 5 at the time.

“He wanted to see other people’s body parts, or he was trying to peek through the bathroom,” she said, adding she took her son to see Lelah every week for about four months….

Records show the 72-year-old has been free since he bonded out of the Hawaii Community Correctional Center last July as he awaits sentencing later this month. Meanwhile, the state has yet to strip the therapist of his license to practice psychology….

In a statement a Criminal Investigations Division captain responded, “HPD is continuing the investigation involving Mr. Lelah and other potential victims. Detectives have contacted and are continuing to reach out to victims. Other cases involving Reuben Lelah have been initiated.” ….

read … As admitted child predator nears sentencing, police open more cases against psychologist

Kaneshiro Employee Faked a Local Address for Campaign Contributions

KHON: … Under cross examination McDonald said he signed the document supporting the firing but the document was written by the firm’s attorney.

Prosecutors also hinted at a possible violation of company policy — claiming McDonald misused the company’s address on personal checks used to donate money to Kaneshiro’s political campaign.

McDonald said he thought he needed a local address to open a bank account….

CB: Employees of a prominent Honolulu engineering firm had a hard time explaining their generosity toward former county prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro when they were questioned by the feds in 2021.

read … Kaneshiro bribery trial continues as McDonald takes the stand

Maui Rejects Proposal Allowing Chicago Company To Drill For Water In Kula

CB: … Free Market Ventures had offered to drill one or more deep water wells and sell the water to the county for 30 years for use by Upcountry residents….

read … Maui Rejects Proposal Allowing Chicago Company To Drill For Water In Kula

Second lawsuit filed to stop removal of Haiku Stairs

SA: … For the second time in less than a year, the Friends of Haiku Stairs has filed a lawsuit to stop the city from demolishing the more than 3,900 steps that lead to the top of the Koolau Range in Kaneohe.

Under a plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, the group says the city’s work to remove the World War II-era stairs, above Haiku Valley and the H-3 freeway, was temporarily halted May 1.

The group’s 91-page complaint is now expected to be heard by Senior Environmental Judge Lisa W. Ca­taldo at 9 a.m. today at 1st Circuit Court….

read … Second lawsuit filed to stop removal of Haiku Stairs

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