Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Economy turning around, lawmakers grill Lingle, mayors plot to hold onto TAT, flu shots available, cold front coming, Bankoh the best, more top Hawaii news


For the first time in a long time, there was good news to come out of an economic meeting at the State Capitol.

State lawmakers facing a $1.2 billion budget shortfall over the next two years received some good news from Hawaii's top economists on Tuesday.

Several state lawmakers and a leading economist yesterday questioned why the Lingle administration mostly used across-the-board spending cuts to contain the state's budget deficit, arguing that it led to misguided decisions such as furloughs for public school teachers on classroom days.

Gov. Linda Lingle's budget plan for the upcoming legislative session amounts to passing the buck and relying on future administrations to solve the state's financial woes, a key state lawmaker said.

Hawaii's mayors aren't bragging about how big their budgets are. Instead, they're talking about the transient accommodations tax or TAT which comes mainly from hotel rooms.

Six months into her term, the new UH president is showing her tough side. On Tuesday night, M.R.C. Greenwood says she will not give in to the demands of the faculty union.

Acting schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, described as a quick study with good communication skills, has the courage to work for the public interest, says former Gov. Ben Cayetano.

Public school meals might still be the cheapest grinds in town, but new price increases going into effect today aim to close the gap

Fewer people appealed their property assessments last year, but some folks are falling behind on paying their tax bills anyway.

Hawai'i health officials will lift their restrictions on H1N1 vaccine injections sometime next week and are urging people in high-risk groups to get vaccinated against the swine flu in the next several days before everyone else becomes eligible.

Forbes magazine has spotlighted Bank of Hawaii as the nation's top performing bank, while ranking Central Pacific Bank near the bottom of a list of 100 largest U.S. banks and thrifts.

Kona winds that have been coming out of the south since last week should continue until Wednesday, when a cold front is expected to arrive and bring winds out of the north and northeast,

The Kaua‘i County Council on Tuesday interviewed a multitude of mayoral appointees to various boards and commissions.