Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hawaii Senate considers broad tax hike and delaying refunds, Hawaii council members call for furloughs, office buildings, Maui Ritz-Carlton on the block, more news

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
An initial assessment of damage at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands) shows the tsunami that hit late on the evening of March 10 and early in the morning on March 11 did "tens of millions" of dollars in damage to infrastructure. Hawaii News Now.

Tsunamis generated by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off Japan earlier this month swept up a one week-old Hawaiian monk seal pup and separated her from her mother at a remote atoll northwest of the main Hawaiian islands, but a state wildlife worker managed to reunite the pair shortly after. Associated Press.

Hawaii senators on Monday discussed raising taxes on everyone by increasing the general excise tax, the state's version of the sales tax that's paid on most transactions. Associated Press.

Closing this fiscal year's budget gap could include delayed tax refunds for the second year in a row. KHON2.

Facing lower tax collections due to falling Japanese tourism, the state Senate must cut deeper and potentially raise taxes on more residents than was proposed just three weeks ago by the state House.KITV4.

The senator in charge of finalizing the state's budget says Hawaii lawmakers have just two options to balance this year's budget: raid special funds or "completely shut down spending." Civil Beat.

State senators, growing impatient with the lack of budget details from Gov. Neil Abercrombie, asked yesterday when the governor plans to fulfill his campaign promise to restructure state government to help with the fiscal crunch. Star-Advertiser.

The state’s short and long-term fiscal crises appear to be …in one lawmaker’s words … pretty dismal. Hawaii Public Radio.

Representatives from all state departments and major agencies came before the senate ways and means committee to plead their cases for their share of state spending. KHON2.

Reality check. That is what Hawaii Senate Ways and Means committee members, and state administration officials, got today during an exchange between senators and the state budget director, Kalbert Young. Hawaii Reporter.

The poker bill going through the capitol is not a lottery or casino. Hawaii News Now.

The decision by Japan Airlines to slash flights to Hawaii by one-third adds to the challenges faced by the state's leading industry since the earthquake, tsunami and radiation scare crippled its No. 3 visitor market. Star-Advertiser.

Former Congressman Charles Djou said Sunday he's waiting to learn if fellow Republican Linda Lingle will run for U.S. Senate in 2012 before plotting his own political future.Tribune-Herald.

A resolution that urges the salary commission to forgo raises for city council members was passed unanimously Monday in committee. KHON2.

Three Hawaii County Council leaders said Monday during an hour-long back-and-forth with Mayor Billy Kenoi they think employee furloughs should continue, with Finance Committee Chairwoman Brenda Ford calling for a 4 percent reduction in force if they don't. West Hawaii Today.

In its continuing efforts to encourage the public to provide input on the future of Kaua‘i’s parks, officials said in a news release Monday that the county is conducting a survey through May 31. Garden Island.

Mayor Alan Arakawa released the Maui County budget for fiscal year (FY) 2012 to the Maui County Council for review a few weeks ago – $632 million. Arakawa also presented revenue of $686.7 million, an increase of $59.9 million compared to FY 2011. Molokai Dispatch.

The largest owner of office buildings in Honolulu is considering selling its portfolio of six properties, a move that could result in a new dominant landlord controlling nearly 10 percent of the market. Star-Advertiser.

The Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua will be sold at a foreclosure auction in May. Pacific Business News

Hawaii's highly decorated Japanese-American veterans of World War II prepared on Monday to receive what will likely be their final official commendation: the Congressional Gold Medal. KITV4.

The Honolulu Zoo's three tiger cubs had new homes lined up, but now those plans have changed. Hawaii News Now.

A recent AARP Hawaii survey of employed adults age 50 and up shows two thirds of them say they’ll work much longer if the economy doesn’t improve. Hawaii Independent.