Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Legislature passes budget avoiding GET increase but grabbing high-tech credits, veil of secrecy drawn over business complaints, tourism looking up, state's two largest newspaper merger OK'd by court, Maui trims budget, more top Hawaii news

State lawmakers on Tuesday passed a $10.2 billion budget that included many fee and tax hikes, but avoided an increase in the general excise tax.

The Hawaii legislature passed a flurry of bills Tuesday, covering everything from fireworks to requests for President Obama's birth certificate to shark fin soup. More than 60 other bills also passed the final House and Senate votes Tuesday.

With Furlough Fridays on their minds, lawmakers took steps to ensure a minimum number of instructional days for public school students while leaving it up to voters to decide on a measure aimed at increasing accountability in the system.

A conflicted state Senate, under threat of potential lawsuits, voted yesterday to end a high-technology tax credit program early and temporarily suspend investors' ability to claim the credits to help with the state's budget deficit.

Gov. Linda Lingle is saying no to oil barrel tax increases, plus jumps in traffic abstract fees and estate taxes.

As expected, Gov. Linda Lingle on Tuesday vetoed the state Legislature’s attempt to block her from reorganizing the state Department of Human Services.

State lawmakers on Tuesday passed legislation that would shield from public view thousands of complaints about real estate agents, contractors, doctors, barbers and other licensed professionals.

Hawaii lawmakers have passed a constitutional amendment proposal that would mandate an appointed Hawaii State Board of Education.

A rebound in Hawai'i's visitor arrivals and spending gathered momentum in March, boosting sales at many businesses.

Hawaii's two largest newspapers, the Honolulu Advertiser and the Star Bulletin will be merging. What many have feared is about to happen, Honolulu will become a one paper city. Hundreds of employees will be laid off and the Advertiser staff is expected to take the biggest hit.

Black Press, the Canadian-based parent of the 128-year-old Honolulu Star-Bulletin, received approval yesterday from the U.S. Justice Department to conclude its purchase of its longtime rival, The Honolulu Advertiser.

Property tax increases would be blunted, and transportation programs and social service grants would get a boost, under a budget proposed Monday by Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Joe Pontanilla.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo has announced five finalists for the university's top job.

Residents have until Friday to turn in their obsolete televisions, computers and other electronic waste without charge to the drop sites in Hilo and in Kona.

The Hawaii visitor industry has rolled out a package of incentives it hopes will persuade Japan Airlines officials not to cancel a daily flight between Narita International Airport and Kona International Airport.

In-car smoking ban raises legal questions

The Hawaii County Department of Water Supply manager said he'll welcome an investigation into the contract process for an Ocean View well project.

A federal jury Monday found Kevyn Paik, 47, and James Alan Duarte, 48, both of Kaua‘i, guilty of multiple wire-fraud and mail-fraud offenses involving the award and performance of contracts for work at the Hanalei Wildlife Refuge, a federal press release states.