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Monday, April 11, 2011
April 11, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:31 PM :: 4093 Views

No New Taxes! Rally April 15--Honolulu, Kona, Hilo, Kahului, Lihue

VIDEO: Ed Case Announces US Senate Campaign

Daily KOS: “I had really hoped we were done with Ed Case”

VIDEO: Sen. Slom introduces Balanced Budget with no tax hikes

Romy Cachola threatens Barbers Point Park Deal

Kalapa: Next Stop, A Tax Increase

The cards on the table include taxing pensions for the first time in the history of the state, eliminating the deduction for state income taxes, limiting itemized deductions on the state income tax return, hiking the tax on alcoholic beverages, suspending several exemptions under the general excise tax and an outright increase in the general excise tax rate. All of these proposals are still under consideration as the legislature heads into the final quarter of the session and the period where negotiations take place in joint senate and house conference committees.

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Lawmakers aim to soak consumers for $122M/year by collecting on Hawaii residents' Internet purchases

With Hawaii still losing out on state taxes from catalog and Internet sales, state lawmakers are getting creative.

A bill pending in the state House would give online retailers like Amazon.com a choice: collect and pay the state's 4 percent general excise tax on sales from consumers in Hawaii, or provide the state with the names, dates and dollar amounts from each sale so the state Department of Taxation can collect the money annually.

Hawaii could be losing about $30 million a year in taxes due on Internet commerce — and perhaps as much as $122 million when mail-order catalog and other sales are counted — because the state has no efficient means of collecting the money.

A New York law adopted in 2008 requires that Ama­zon.com and other online retailers collect and pay the state's sales tax if the retailers have a presence in the state through affiliate websites.

Amazon.com has challenged the law in court.

Hawaii followed New York's example with a similar bill in 2009, prompting Amazon.com and Overstock.com to cancel affiliate marketing agreements with websites in the islands.

Then-Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed the bill, and both online retailers restored the local partnerships. Lingle also vetoed a Streamlined Sales Tax Proj­ect bill. Lawmakers chose not to override the vetoes.

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Shapiro: Djou Back in the Saddle Again

he keeps himself visible giving speeches, sending out tweets and writing op-ed commentaries, such as yesterday’s in the Star-Advertiser urging Hawai‘i to modernize its civil service system….

Djou, who has returned to law practice, hints he might be interested in running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Daniel Akaka if former Gov. Linda Lingle decides not to carry the GOP banner, but more likely he’s looking at another run for the House — especially if Hanabusa or her fellow Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono go for the Senate seat.

In either case, he’s one of the few Hawai‘i Republicans articulate and marketable enough to credibly contend for the state’s higher offices and the local party is no doubt happy to have him back in action.

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ILind: Emperor Abercrombie to seize Molokai, Decapitate Residents

If landowner Molokai Ranch isn’t interested in the deal? Neil says we’ll take the land. And if the residents of Molokai aren’t interested in living in Oahu’s energy shadow, or being reduced to parts of our electrical grid? Off with their heads? It isn’t clear what the Gov. has in mind there, but it made Neil sound more like an emperor than governor.

RELATED: Abercrombie: State could seize 1/3 of Molokai for Wind Farm

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Hawaii Reapportionment Commission to Meet today

The folks responsible for redrawing Hawaii's election districts are scheduled to hold their first meeting today.

The members of the eight-member bipartisan commission was announced last month.

The commission will select a ninth member — the chairperson.

The new district lines, based on 2010 Census data, will be drawn later this year.

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Council meeting today to pick Kawakami’s successor

The Kaua‘i County Council will meet at 4:30 p.m. today to appoint Derek Kawakami’s successor.

The term for the vacant seat on the seven-member legislative body expires Dec. 3, 2012.

County officials have said privately that as many as nine residents have applied for the job, but all the names were not disclosed.

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Dinner held for Maui County soldiers who spent a year in Afghanistan

The 12-month war duty for 60 men and women with the Hawaii Army National Guard closed off this weekend at a homecoming party with their closest friends and family members. About 200 people showed up Saturday at the Maui Tropical Plantation, where the comrades in arms enjoyed seeing each other after not being together for a few months. The National Guard men and women have been trickling back home since January.

While in Afghanistan, their main mission was to construct buildings, such as barracks, from the ground up. However, they also went on night patrols in villages, stood guard in watchtowers and provided security for supply convoys.

Probably most of them had been shot at during their deployment, a few of the soldiers said, but they all made it home safely. A few of them suffered noncombat-related injuries like torn rotator cuffs or slipped spinal discs from their construction work.

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FTA will help both the U.S. and Hawaii

Besides enhancing regional stability and securing peace, a free trade agreement with Korea offers the U.S. wider access to the world’s 15th largest economy.

Korean investors will be able to more easily invest in the U.S. and create jobs.

Trade between both countries will be enhanced by a 95 percent reduction in tariffs. And a Korea-U.S. FTA will help Hawaii combat its current economic problems.

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HSTA Flack demands less accountability, more money

Justin Hughey, HSTA Flack: It is small wonder that confusion reigned when furloughs stood as Linda Lingle's example of making education a priority during her reign as governor of Hawaii.  (And we at the HSTA should know, because we are the ones who insisted that furlough days would be on instructional days.)

To make sure our precious resources are not going to waste, public debate on educational reform should begin by critically examining the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, a federal law enacted by the Bush administration that requires schools to demonstrate proficiency and progress according to accountability standards set by the state and approved by the U.S. Department of Education. (Because if there is one thing we at the HSTA are against, it is accountability.)

REALITY:  Abercrombie’s Board of Education: Accountability begins now, and it’s already ugly

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UH Wants Money, Threatens Tourism School

One consequence of the state's current budget crisis could be another attempt to close the University of Hawaii's tourism school and make it a part of the Shidler College of Business….

Nothing is yet decided, as Chancellor Hinshaw has not yet written a formal proposal for the merger. The UH Board of Regents would have to sign off on any potential merger.

What This Is: Washington Monument Gambit

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FACT CHECK — Board of Water Supply Says Honolulu Has Fewer Water Main Breaks Than Average?

Some say it happens all too often, but the water board tells Civil Beat that Honolulu water main breaks are below the national average.

So does its claim hold any water?

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After Stalling Repairs, Abercrombie puts on Show and then lets Contractors go to work at Mayor Wright Housing

"It's been kind of better," said Tamara Lo, 22. "Neil Abercrombie came here, I think last month or something? He's been going around and helping... So I guess he's doing a good job because at night time, we've been getting hot water. (Before), at night time, we've been showering in cold water and now it's better."

Matty Lokot, who declined to give her age, echoed Lo.

"He fixed it," Lokot said of the governor. "Since Monday, we've had (hot water)."

One resident, Lewis Esah, 39, told Civil Beat he hasn't been as fortunate.

"We don't have any hot water. Nothing," Esah said. "Maybe ours, they're still fixing?"

As it turned out, Esah was right.

On the roof of his building were two contractors working for Mason's Plumbing Services, which was hired by JJS Construction, Inc. They told Civil Beat they had been working for close to four weeks replacing the backup heaters.

One of the contractors said he has replaced seven heaters to date and plans to complete 22 more. He said the new backup heaters were top of the line and that they should last for years.

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SA: No excuse for lack of warning signs

The 2003 Legislature enacted a law that then-Attorney General Mark Bennett said would "assure both more safety for the public and fair protection for the state" when hikers are injured or killed on state trails. As a Kauai judge has ruled, the law does not let the state off the hook when it neglects to put up signs of danger where needed.

When visitors Elizabeth Brem and Paula Ramirez of Oregon came upon two trails on their hike back from the lagoon of Opaekaa Falls on Kauai in December 2006, they came upon two trails. One on the left carried a sign warning "Danger — Keep Out — Hazardous Conditions." So they took the trail on the right, where dense foliage obscured the vertical drop of a steep cliff. Both women, horribly, slipped to their death.

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First Hawaiian Bank Signals Recovery with Business Up First Quarter

Reporting a 10.17 percent increase over last year, First Hawaiian Bank’s strength is signaling a recovery in the making.

The latest First Hawaiian Bank Business Activity Report (BAR) showed continued evidence of Hawaii’s economic recovery with a 10.17% increase in three months of the year “same store sales” over the first quarter of 2010, according to Keith Nagata, senior vice president and Business Services Division Manager.

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Central Pacific Financial Corp. Announces Commencement of $20 Million Common Stock Rights Offering

The Company will issue up to 2,000,000 common shares in the Rights Offering at a price of $10 per share, the same price paid by the private investors in the Company's $325 million private placement.

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Hawaii Correctional Facilities to Use Electronic Medical Records System

Using eClinicalWorks EMR will aid the State of Hawaii in streamlining processes and promoting improved patient care in its correctional facilities. The system will also permit providers to utilize chronic and preventative care measures, including those that are unique to this setting such as suicide watch alerts, etc. The eClinicalWorks EMR will also provide intake screening process flows and a behavioral health module.

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Concert raises $1.6M for tsunami victims

The Kokua for Japan event brings big stars and lots of generosity….

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Company To Be Questioned Monday Over Hawaii Blast

Investigators plan to question officials at an ordnance disposal company Monday to try to determine the age and type of fireworks inside a storage bunker that exploded, killing five workers and injuring another, afire official said.

Authorities probing the cause of the explosion also want to know what the six employees of Donaldson Enterprises Inc. were doing when the blast occurred Friday and what their training was, Honolulu fire Capt. Gary Lum told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The company, founded in 1988, has completed hundreds of explosive-related projects with no serious accidents or injuries, according to its website.

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Obama Senior Advisor: I hope Birther Trump keeps on rising

Pres. Obama’s senior adviser David Plouffe made the Sunday morning show rounds, saying this and that and even had this dig about Fox News viewers while on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

During his “This Week” appearance Christiane Amanpour asked Plouffe about Donald Trump‘s chances at winning the White House.

“There is zero chance that Donald Trump would ever be hired by the American people to do this job,” says Plouffe. “I saw Donald Trump kind of rising in some polls and given his behavior and spectacle the last couple of weeks, I hope he keeps on rising.”

Precisely as explained over and over again: On second try, Abercrombie makes birtherism mainstream

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Trump to Obama aide: I’m your ‘worst nightmare’

(No.  Facing a birther opponent is Obama’s greatest dream.  Here is a look at a couple of non-birther candidates Obama FEARS.)

…the White House has been talking about other potential candidates. Mr. Obama has lauded former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for his health plan, which hits its fifth anniversary on Tuesday, calling it a model for his own health care law – a tweak for a candidate facing stiff headwinds from Republican primary voters on the issue. He’s also lauded his ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman Jr., for his service to the Obama administration, another tweak in the event that Mr. Huntsman decides to seek the Republican nomination.

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