Wednesday, April 7, 2010

State Legislature advances new taxes, canoe races to get farther away, Navy looks to the sun, congressional race heating up, more top Hawaii news

The Coast Guard and state boating officials are enforcing stricter safety guidelines that could put canoe races farther from harbor entrances and away from spectators.

State House and Senate lawmakers yesterday preserved an array of difficult and unpopular options to contain the state's $1.2 billion deficit, moving into the final weeks of the session with the tools — if not the consensus — to balance the budget.

Thirty-seven transactions that are now exempt from the state's 4 percent general excise tax would be subject to a tax of 1 percent starting July 1, and the tax on a barrel of oil would jump to $1.55 from a nickel under proposals advancing in the Legislature.

The Navy wants to increase up to sevenfold the state's solar power output as part of a militarywide effort in Hawai'i to reduce its dependency on foreign fossil fuels.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has contacted Hawaii Sens. Dan Inouye and Dan Akaka to inform them the committee might support former U.S. Rep. Ed Case in Hawaii's special congressional election, the political Web site Politico reported Tuesday.

Honolulu City Council members are growing increasingly skeptical that Hawaiian Waste Systems can fulfill a contract to ship 100,000 tons of municipal trash to the Mainland by the end of September.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis and its crew are back in Honolulu Tuesday night after a two month mission to crack down on illegal fishing in the South Pacific.

The 2011 APEC Summit meetings will bring 21 world leaders and 20,000 visitors to the state, and it's expected to pump millions of dollars into the state's economy, but hosting the nine day event comes with a big price tag.

County Council members have toured the site of a proposed 100-unit Hilo apartment complex, listened to area residents' objections and now appear ready to vote on the rezoning request.

Nearly $4 million in federal stimulus funds is headed for the Big Island to refurbish three public housing areas

Hawaii County wants to save about $2 million per year by privatizing its green waste collection and disposal, but some West Hawaii residents worry the Department of Environmental Management is going to leave them holding the bag.

Three years of budget cuts have led to some bleeding from balance sheets, including those of the nonprofit organizations that rely on Maui County dollars to aid ever-growing numbers of people needing help in the economic downturn.

In a move to cut costs at a time of a projected $56 million budget shortfall, Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares has proposed slashing, but not eliminating, funds to two bus programs that serve Maui's elderly and disabled.

Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. announced 17 county employees from the county’s different departments to the Employee Recognition Program and 2009 Service Awards coordinated by the county’s Personnel Services Department.