Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hawaii lawmakers grapple revenue shortfall, allow themselves freebies, look at decriminializing marijuana, Maui reconsiders furloughs, Honolulu has HART, Kilauea continues show, more news

Hawaii Legislature
State House and Senate lawmakers advanced a menu of tax options yesterday to generate revenue to help balance the budget. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers passed a wide array of measures Tuesday night to tax pensions, reduce tax exemptions and raise liquor fees to help solve the state's big budget deficit. KITV4.

Hawaii legislators are passing a wide selection of measures to tax pensions, trim tax exemptions and raise liquor levies to help narrow the state's big budget deficit. Associated Press.

Among hundreds of measures approved by the Hawaii State Senate today were proposals to decriminalize marijuana, classify some peeping toms as sex offenders, amend the procurement code and re-open Kulani Prison on the Big Island. Hawaii Reporter.

The state Senate has kept alive a bill to scoop an unspecified amount from the general excise tax surcharge on Oahu for rail projects, while the House advanced a proposal to cap the amount of money from the hotel room tax that goes to counties. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would allow lawmakers and other state employees to accept free tickets to fundraising events for charities is moving forward at the Legislature.Star-Advertiser.

The state Legislature has reached the first important deadline of the session, with hundreds of bills receiving third readings in the House and Senate. KITV4.

The head of the House Finance Committee will ignore many of the new initiatives proposed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in producing what he says is a lean budget relying on a combination of tax increases and budget cuts. Hawaii Reporter.

The latest eruption at Kilauea Volcano has a new working name. Associated Press.

A new eruption near Pu'u 'o'o Crater on the Big Island that began March 5 has led to a dramatic increase in sulfur dioxide gas, one of two main ingredients in vog. KHON2.

Board of Water Supply: Oahu below national average for number of water main breaks. Hawaii News Now.

It will cost $21.1 million to run the new Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) in its first year, according to documents posted to the city's new budget website. Civil Beat.

Carlisle talks about rail, budget woes. Pacific Business News.

While furloughs were designed to dish out less money in regular pay, the county council questioned whether ensuing overtime required may have cost the county more than a normal work schedule. Garden Island.

The state judiciary is expanding a unique probation program to Hilo after it helped reduce recidivism rates on Oahu and produced similar results in Maui County. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie promised residents of an Iwilei public housing complex yesterday that he would take quick action to get them the hot water service they have not had for years. Star-Advertiser.

Hilton and hotel workers union celebrate new deal. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Electric Co. union members continued picketing Monday afternoon despite learning that their union had finalized a tentative agreement with their parent company, Hawaiian Electric Industries, a Maui union official said. Maui News.

Striking Hawaii Electric Light Co. workers picketed Monday amid reports that a tentative settlement had been reached to end the 4-day-old walkout. Tribune-Herald.

Day-to-day operations are running smoothly and reliable electric service is continuing on the Big Island, despite the 240 Hawaii Electric Light Co. employees on a strike and continuing negotiations, said a company official Monday. West Hawaii Today.