Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hawaii economy dips, Italian coffee giant buys Kauai business, Maui plans open classroom, Hawaii County to pump $1 M into tourism, Akaka Bill redux, Puna residents file marijuana lawsuit, more

Hawaii Council on Revenues
The Council on Revenues Tuesday revised its projection on state revenues to decline to -1.6 percent, down from a March 10 forecast of .5 percent growth. Hawaii News Now.

As lawmakers prepare to write a budget addressing a shortfall estimated at up to $1.3 billion over three years, the state Council on Revenues was called back into session to set the tax revenues estimate on which, by law, the budget must be based. KITV4.

The forecast drop means a swing of more than 2 percent into negative territory, largely in line with what the administration had estimated in its end of fiscal year crunch. KHON2.

Hawaii’s Council on Revenues today revised downward its economic outlook by 1.6 percent. Hawaii Reporter

The State Council on Revenues met today at the request of Governor Neil Abercrombie. The Council lowered its projections more than 2 percentage points due to a number of factors. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Hawaii Council on Revenues Tuesday revised its forecast for the rest of the fiscal year, saying general fund revenue collections will decline by 1.6 percent, more than 2 percentage points lower than what the council had projected earlier this month Pacific Business News

The number of Hawaii visitors jumped 11.8 percent last month compared to the year before, but tourism officials responding to the data released Tuesday said they're girding themselves for a drop-off as travelers from Japan increasingly stay home in the wake of this month's devastating earthquake and tsunamis. Associated Press.

Hawaii County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong wants the county to spend $1 million to lure mainland tourists to the Big Island to fill a gap created by declines in Japanese visitors. West Hawaii Today.

From school furloughs to reductions in state services, many residents have been feeling the pinch over the past few years as Hawaii leaders have cut back because of the difficult economy. KITV4.

Dozens of people gathered at the state Capitol on Tuesday in a rally designed to raise awareness of the elderly suffering from hunger in Hawaii and encourage lawmakers to fund programs. KITV4.

The idea of taxing soft drinks may be making a comeback. Associated Press.

David Louie's nomination to be Hawaii attorney general does not appear to be in trouble, but Senate Judiciary Chairman Clayton Hee is not quite ready to sign off on a top appointment for Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Civil Beat.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, who has said he plans to retire after his current term expires next year, spoke on the Senate floor this morning as he re-introduced a bill to grant federal recognition for native Hawaiians, renewing his effort to win passage of a proposal that has been before Congress since 1999. Star-Advertiser.

More than a decade after it was set aside for preservation, a 20-acre site at Palauea could be transformed into a "living classroom" on Hawaiian culture, archaeology and agriculture under a proposal by the University of Hawaii Maui College. Maui News.

One of the three bidders to provide rail cars for Honolulu's transit system plans a formal protest of the contract award, which the city publicized would cost $574 million but has since acknowledged might amount up to $1.4 billion over the life of the contract. Star-Advertiser.

Rail opponents have added an attorney to their arsenal who helped write national environmental laws. Hawaii News Now.

Coffee giant Massimo Zanetti Beverage now owns Kaua‘i Coffee Company, the nation’s largest coffee estate. Garden Island.

For the sixth year in a row, the Legislature convened in a joint session to honor service members with Hawaii ties who were killed or died in a war zone, and to present their families with the state Medal of Honor. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Zoo is in danger of losing accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Hawaii News Now.

New State Ferry Under Consideration. Molokai Dispatch.

Eight Puna residents have filed a lawsuit alleging that police, prosecutors and other county officials have failed to abide by the voter initiative making adult personal use of marijuana the "lowest law enforcement priority." Tribune-Herald.

The countdown is on for West Hawaii residents who've long-awaited their chance to pick up more live, over-the-air Hawaii Public Radio news, information and music broadcasts. West Hawaii Today.

Judge voids final EIS for housing project. Maui News.