Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lingle unveils budget, garbage and power on Oahu, monk seal attacks tourist, more Hawaii news


Gov. Linda Lingle, trying to close a $1.2 billion budget deficit through June 2011, said yesterday that she would delay tax refunds from April until July and ask state lawmakers to scoop hotel-room tax revenues that now go to counties.

Hawaii's four counties could feel the brunt of the state's financial crisis in the coming fiscal year as the governor looks to close a $1.23 billion budget hole using money usually allocated to the counties.

Gov. Linda Lingle said she plans to delay some income and corporate tax refunds until after July 1 to help the state deal with its $1.2 billion budget shortfall.

It's a billion dollar fix. The governor unveiled a sweeping new plan on Monday to balance the budget, in part, by delaying tax returns.

The state has started the planning necessary for laying a network of undersea cables to transfer wind-generated electricity from Lana'i and Moloka'i to O'ahu.

The company with a contract to ship O'ahu trash to the Mainland has yet to do so, seven weeks after it first said it would.

The City of Honolulu Monday broke ground on an expansion to the city's H-POWER waste-to-energy facility in Campbell Industrial Park. The facility, which converts solid waste to electricity, will generate enough power to supply 25,000 additional homes.

Public opinion will be sought at a hearing on the state's plan to reduce medical coverage for Pacific Islanders who migrate to Hawaii under the Compact of Free Association.

Investigators continued work Sunday at a Kahului Airport hangar examining the wreckage of an Aerospatiale AS350 helicopter that crash-landed on a remote Hana coastline Wednesday.

An adult female monk seal on Monday attacked and seriously injured a 28-year-old female visitor from Kirkland, Wash.