Thursday, January 7, 2010

New taxes looming, whale entangled, mayors want more, marijuana bill defeated, plastic bag ban debated, Hillary coming, union squabbling, more Hawaii news


Marine experts are searching the waters off the Kona Coast for a humpback whale entangled in polypropylene line, deflated buoys and other fishing gear.

 Two key state senators suggested the counties could impose a sales tax of up to 5 percent to recoup revenue lost if the state holds on to the counties' share of the hotel tax.

County mayors said they were open to all proposals for closing sizable gaps in their upcoming budgets, but stopped short of saying property tax hikes were inevitable.

A new proposal under consideration could force customers to pay a sales tax to help take care of soaring budget shortfalls in Hawaii.

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi laced his request for state funds with humor. But he and his mayoral colleagues know there's nothing funny about the state's budget crisis.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. underscored the importance of Kaua‘i keeping its share of hotel tax revenue from the state in his testimony Wednesday morning during a joint hearing of the House Finance and Senate Ways and Means committees.

Gov. Linda Lingle's administration rejected, again, a tentative agreement between education officials and the Hawaii State Teachers Association that would have ended "furlough Fridays" for the remainder of the current school year.

The Lingle administration again rejected a $35 million proposal by the teachers union and state Board of Education to increase instruction time at public schools by seven days ending in June.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be in Hawaii next week, where she will speak about Asia-Pacific relations and consult with U.S. military commanders in the Pacific, the State Department said yesterday.

A Hawaiian Airlines passenger plane made a belated landing on Maui last night after turning back to Portland, Ore., under the escort of armed fighter jets.

Home at last, after a fighter jet escort - a Hawaiian air flight at the center of a security scare has finally arrived on Maui.

The state Legislature is cutting five recess days from its 2010 calendar to both trim expenses and encourage members to focus on the state budget.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has picked up the pace in federally registering 48 endangered Kaua‘i species in light of a lawsuit filed earlier this week in federal court by environmental activists.

Kaua‘i drivers would be forced to pay an additional 50 cents for every gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel they purchase if the County Council goes along with measures recommended in the final draft of the Kaua‘i Energy Sustainability Plan released this week.

Hawaii County may join Maui and Kauai counties in banning plastic shopping bags if a bill by Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann continues along its current path.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. underscored the importance of Kaua‘i keeping its share of hotel tax revenue from the state in his testimony Wednesday morning during a joint hearing of the House Finance and Senate Ways and Means committees.

Defying Kelly Greenwell's threat to resign, a County Council committee voted against a resolution asking the state Legislature to decriminalize marijuana

About 35 business owners and community leaders gathered Tuesday in Hilo to forge a message to President Barack Obama on how the government can best aid the economic recovery on the Big Island.


A preliminary report on a Dec. 16 helicopter crash in Hana says the copter actually lost all power and crashed in what was intended as a simulated loss of engine power exercise.