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Sunday, January 13, 2013
January 13, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:52 PM :: 5866 Views

VIDEO: O'Reilly Demolishes Hanabusa 

Instead of Exempting Wholesaling from GET, Reduce Rate on Business Inputs 

Maui Dems Refuse to Release Names of House District 9 Nominees

Hawaii’s Den of Thieves

Rail Transit Under Fire in Los Angeles and San Jose 

Jones Act Hurts Hawaii (Alaska, Guam and Puerto Rico too)

Transportation and Energy Infrastructure Projects: Forecasting is Unnecessary

Lawmakers Aim to Create Mini-PLDC to Develop School Properties

SA: With the Public Land Development Corp. stuck in political quicksand, state lawmakers are returning to the narrower idea of redeveloping land around public schools to generate new revenue for the state.

Lawmakers are drafting a bill that would create an education facilities trust that could lease out underutilized public school land for workforce housing or other commercial projects. The state would use the money from redevelopment to modernize public schools with broadband and other infrastructure that is part of the Information Age.  (CLUE: This scam comes from HIPA and Bill Kaneko, see next article for more.)

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has called for schools to be modernized in his "New Day" agenda, and the concept is being driven by many of his key allies, including William Kaneko, his campaign manager and an attorney who leads the Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs.

Lawmakers are also considering a less ambitious three-year pilot project, potentially overseen by Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui's office, that would allow development leases on a few public school properties to determine whether the concept is viable before applying it statewide.

Mindful of the backlash against the PLDC, lawmakers will carefully review whether redevelopment on public school land should entail broad exemptions from land use, planning and zoning laws. (Translation: They will have to slip it in at the end.)

read … Lawmakers covet land at schools for revenue

Abercrombie Cronies to Organize PLDC Pep Rally, Conference

Borreca: …lobbyists influential with the Abercrombie administration, including John Radcliffe and William Kaneko, are putting together a “2013 Thought Leaders Conference” to run the day before the Legislature opens.

This meeting, dubbed “Lifting the Fiscal Vog,” will start with a speech by Abercrombie and go through an economic overview of Hawaii and presentations by Abercrombie administration department heads.

The meetings are to wrap up with a “call to action” by Radcliffe, Bank of Hawaii CEO Peter Ho and others.

Much of the meeting, according to Radcliffe, will be a pep talk to get the state’s business community involved in and supporting government actions during the legislative session.

“We are at a crossroads, public sector costs are going up, agency after agency is underfunded and not operating at capacity,” Radcliffe said in an interview. “Business has to understand it should be part of the solution.”

The stimulus for the conference came after the resounding statewide rejection of the plans for the PLDC,…

The administration is also armed with a new white paper that sets up the state’s Office of State Planning to be the point of the spear in moving the state into transit-oriented development, which would include heavy development around proposed city rail stations….

Not surprisingly, the report makes the same case as the supporters of the PLDC.

What now is open for question is whether any of this outweighs the serious political danger Abercrombie’s plans are provoking both for himself and his Democratic allies.

Related: Report: State Office of Planning to Become Super-PLDC

Radcliffe and Kaneko: Gaming Industry Lobbyist, Progressive activist screen Abercrombie cabinet picks

read … Thought Leaders?

Counties' proposals include revenue from traffic fines

SA: Seeking a portion of the fines from uncontested traffic infractions and stronger requirements for products branded as having been made or produced in Hawaii are among the four counties' priorities for the state Legislature this session.

Both will be in the package of six proposals presented to the Legislature this year by the Hawaii State Association of Counties.

The Honolulu City Council approved Wednesday a list of 18 proposals it would like to see adopted by the Legislature.

Of those, six also have been adopted by Hawaii, Kauai and Maui counties. Only proposals being sought by all four counties are included in the HSAC package to the Legislature….

Other proposals expected to be in the HSAC package include measures urging the Legislature to preserve the counties' share of the hotel room tax and to support the easing of visa restrictions at the federal level for visitors from China.

The package also includes measures that would provide counties with representation on the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund and Employees' Retirement System Trust Fund Board.

read … Counties

Abercrombie’s Defeat of Inouye Faction Means Oahu is in Decline

SA: Perhaps historians will point to 2013 as the year when statewide decentralization began, resulting in a leadership with a neighbor island view of the world — doing more with less, rather than the charge-ahead, majority-rules Oahu-centric planning, and with a more balanced approach to resource allocation among all the islands.

Totally Related: PEW: Vote-by-Mail Favors Old White Democrats

read … Days of Oahu-centric state may be ending

Neighbor Island Teachers Miss 20-45 Days Thanks to DoE ‘Training’ Fetish

SA: Miller added that substitute teachers are often tasked with focusing more on classroom management and safety than on keeping up academic rigor.

"The way that absences affect achievement is varied, but what we do have is some pretty solid evidence that the stories add up to something meaningful and real," he said. "We're talking about educationally meaningful shocks."

The state Department of Education absentee figures, requested by the Star-Advertiser, show teachers took an average of 7.5 sick leave days in the 2011-12 school year, which Miller said appeared "high" compared with the norm.

Hawaii's average of 17 days for all teacher absences in the 180-day school year included days teachers were out sick, on training or at school-sponsored activities, according to the DOE….

A report by the Center for American Progress, written by Miller and released in November, showed about half of Hawaii teachers had more than 10 absences, the second-highest rate in the nation. The national average was 36 percent.

(Clue: DoE insiders award themselves ‘professional services’ contracts, then organize useless ‘in service training’ sessions in order to collect their contract payments.)

ILind: Teachers were at work on majority of “missed” days

Link: Chart

read … And only work part of the year

Political Office is for Kids Who Miss Prison, School

Shapiro: …the quote of the week … from Abercrombie on his renewed push for state-funded preschools: "If we don't catch the kids early, unfortunately the justice system tends to have to catch some of them later." Kids who fall through the crack between school and prison are swept up by political office.

SA: Make preschool a priority, not a budget add-on

Lock: Early learning program would pay for itself

read … New schedule has Tsutsui here today, gone to Maui

Insurer-Controlled Health Exchange to Oversee Your Medical Records 

SA: With electronically based records, information exchange is made easier, and providers will be able to securely exchange crucial patient medical information. The Hawai‘i Health Information Exchange is currently building the statewide health information exchange, also known as the State HIE, which will help providers to better coordinate and communicate with one another. Hawai‘i HIE is working alongside the state to ensure that all data security, privacy and legal issues are addressed.

read … Electronic health records boost efficiency

Court orders online travel companies to pay state of Hawaii $150 million in general excise taxes

KHON: Judge Chang granted summary judgment yesterday for the State of Hawaii against OTCs including Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity and Priceline, ruling that the Hawaii General Excise Tax ("GET") applies to the sales of Hawaii hotel rooms by online travel companies.  The amount of unpaid taxes owed is approximately $110 million, plus interest of an additional approximate $40 million.  These unpaid taxes cover the period from 2000 through 2011.  In addition to the unpaid taxes, the court’s ruling could result in future GET collections of approximately $20 million annually, beginning in 2012.  The court also ruled that the OTCs did not owe transient accommodation taxes on these sales.

Since 2000, the OTCs have made sales of over $2.7 billion of Hawaii hotel rooms.  The OTCs collected sufficient money to cover the GET and transient accommodation taxes from consumers purchasing Hawaii hotel rooms, but never filed any returns or paid any taxes to the State of Hawaii.

Judge Chang ruled that the GET is a privilege tax imposed on businesses for the privilege of doing business in the State of Hawaii.  He emphasized the broad nature of the GET and ruled that it included the sale of Hawaii hotel rooms by OTCs.…

The OTCs have the right to appeal the Tax Appeal Court’s ruling on the GET.  Likewise, the state will have the right to appeal the court’s adverse ruling on the transient accommodations tax.  Further proceedings in the Tax Appeal Court will be held on March 8, 2013 in which the state is seeking penalties for the failure of the OTCs to file tax returns or pay the taxes due.  A trial date has been set for April 15, 2013 to resolve any outstanding issues.

Background: Hawaii-based Travel Site Upset by $700M Tax Decision

Judge Slaps Down Abercrombie’s $700M Raid on Internet Travel Agencies

Democrats: State Should Have Looted Orbitz.com for $500M to Give to Our HSTA, DOE Cronies

read … Shakedown

Hawaii-based soldiers return home from Afghanistan

KITV: Bittersweet homecoming for brigade which suffered high number of casualties

read … Afghanistan

10 Felonies, Ordered out of Hilo Drug House

WHT: Two people were ordered by a judge to permanently vacate a Kaumana home prosecutors have described as a drug house…. (But not into a prison, eh?)

Shiigi asked for a default judgment against the defendants and referred to a May police affidavit. In it, Hilo Vice Officer Kelly Moniz wrote: “Arakaki went on to state that Dorbert distribute(s) large quantities of crystal methamphetamine from his residence.” The document also stated that Arakaki told Moniz that “Dorbert regularly picks up ounce quantities of crystal methamphetamine, and the last time she was with Dorbert as he picked up an ounce was on May 4 or 5.”

Moniz also wrote that Arakaki told him Correa had “four long guns and one pistol.” The document stated that Correa had 10 prior felony convictions and was legally ineligible to own or possess firearms.

read … Soft on Crime

Transactions jumped 9.8% in 2012 at isle businesses

SA: Statewide credit and debit card transactions at businesses open at least a year jumped 11.3 percent during the fourth quarter from the year-earlier quarter and 9.8 percent for 2012.

That marked the largest quarterly and full-year increase since First Hawaiian Bank, the state's largest local credit card processor, began issuing reports in 2010. It also marked the first time in a quarter that all 16 business sectors tracked in the report posted positive gains.

"We're optimistic," First Hawaiian President and CEO Bob Harrison said. "It's consumer- and tourism-driven. This really demonstrates that we're into a solid consumer-driven economy."

(So when will the State stop soaking consumers?)

read … Boom

Kakaako to be Given to Obama Foundation to Develop?

SA: But rather than fight about it, the Hawaii contenders seem to be adopting the aloha strategy of compromise, believing there is enough here to make both cities happy.

These centers are often described generically as libraries, but in some cases the presidential legacy takes shape with facilities in different cities. For example, former President Bill Clinton has a presidential center in Little Rock, Ark., including the conventional library and archives elements, but he’s based his foundation in New York City.

A similar outcome is the fondest desire of the team, a committee largely comprising University of Hawaii faculty members who met over coffee in Honolulu, just after Obama’s first inauguration four years ago. Among them was Robert Perkinson, special assistant to the chancellor and associate professor in anti-American Studies.

read … Obama Foundation to Score Kakaako?

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