Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hang onto your wallets, the Legislature is in session, one coqui captured, beach encroachment banned, DUI arrests up, more top Hawaii news

State senators yesterday moved toward a general excise tax increase to help with the state's budget deficit after finding that targeted tax hikes on businesses would likely be passed on to consumers and could undermine economic growth.

A plan to raise the general excise tax 1 percentage point is on the move, but Senate leaders are predicting it will not get far.

The Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee has scuttled a proposed tax on Hawaii health insurance premiums.

House lawmakers passed a bill aimed at stopping private landowners from planting vegetation that encroaches onto public beaches.

Authorities said drunken driving arrests are up in Honolulu, in part because police are stepping up enforcement of DUI laws

It took a lot of trying, but the lone Mānoa coqui frog has been captured.

The skipper of a Pearl Harbor-based attack submarine was fired this week after he was found guilty of drunkenness and conduct unbecoming an officer.

The city's planned route for a new $5.3 billion rail system runs too close to runways at Honolulu International Airport, and that has become a major sticking point holding up the project.

Central Pacific Bank has announced a new chief executive - and a new strategy to build its cash reserves as required by federal banking regulators. The new strategy includes downsizing, and employees have been told there may be layoffs.

Everyone Acts Small in Local Banking

Hawaii's House of Representatives wants to spend $200-plus million to build Big Island schools, roads and even a hydroelectric power plant that may never move beyond a wish-list status.

Although Kaua‘i has the restrictive agricultural-land subdivision rules, people have still been able to navigate around the system and establish residences on prime agricultural lands while not necessarily being engaged in substantial farming.

The Hawaii County Council has been given the Big Island Press Club's 13th annual Lava Tube award. According to the club, the award recognizes the year's most notable offense against the public's right to know.

Mayor Billy Kenoi's administration has done an about-face on selling its coqui frog sprayers following an outcry from a community group that's been conducting its own eradication program.

The coming months will result in the most difficult Maui County budget process in memory, Mayor Charmaine Tavares said Monday as she revealed her administration's fiscal year 2011 budget proposal.

With $53 million less in the county's anticipated fiscal year 2011 budget revenues compared with last year, Mayor Charmaine Tavares on Monday proposed to increase or "adjust" the real property tax rates for several classifications.