Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tax hikes mulled, statewide bag ban sought, Hawaii flunks Race to the Top, teacher union vote set, Lingle, Hannemann net union endorsements, yacht resumes Molokai trips, home sales mixed, $38M rail contract awarded, 75 Kauai County jobs unfilled, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Former Gov. Linda Lingle (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers on Monday endorsed former Gov. Linda Lingle for U.S. Senate, which gives the Republican a window into the blue-collar labor community that usually prefers Democrats. Star-Advertiser.

On Monday, the United Public Workers, Local 646 announced its endorsement of former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann to serve Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Hawaii News Now.

The state plans to tighten spending rather than increase taxes to cover a predicted $19.3 million state budget deficit in fiscal year 2013, Hawaii officials said Monday. Associated Press.

Tax increases and other revenue-generating measures are being considered by the Abercrombie administration to deal with budget shortfalls expected to top $164 million in fiscal year 2014 and grow in successive years. Star-Advertiser.

The state's recently downgraded revenues forecast won't scrap Gov. Neil Abercrombie's financial plan for this year or next. Civil Beat.

The effects of newly downgraded tax revenue projections will be “minimal” for the current state budget but will be “quite considerable and severe” in future years, causing Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration to at least consider the possibility of future tax increases, Budget Director Kalbert Young said today. Hawaii Reporter.

State Budget and Finance Director Kalbert Young told lawmakers Monday the Abercrombie administration is drawing up a revised six year financial plan in order to deal with long-term deficits that rise above $300 million within the next four fiscal years. KHON2.

Hawaii missed major milestones during its first year of implementing reforms under a $75 million "Race to the Top" education grant, the U.S. Department of Education said. Associated Press.

In its first year of a four-year, $75 million Race to the Top grant, Hawaii missed "the majority" of its education reform milestones, a new U.S. Department of Education report says. Star-Advertiser.

Several states that won a slice of the U.S. Department of Education's $4.3 billion Race to the Top competition have had to delay plans to implement ambitious reforms and two could possibly lose money if they don't get back on track. Associated Press.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association hopes to hold a ratification vote on a new six-year contract on Jan. 19. Star-Advertiser.

The tentative agreement reached by the state and the Hawaii State Teachers Association could help to save federal education funds. Hawaii News Now.

The Governor says a tentative labor deal with the teachers union should help the state secure $75 million dollars in federal "Race to the Top" money. KHON2.

With the legislative session gearing up, advocates are pushing for a statewide law to bring O`ahu into the mix and deal with some unforeseen problems the plastic bag bans created. Hawaii Public Radio.

State roundup for January 10. Associated Press.

Oahu

The city has awarded a $38.8 million contract to Los Angeles-based AECOM Technical Services Inc. to design the rail transit project's airport segment. Star-Advertiser.

Judge: Civil Beat Can Blog Honolulu Rail Lawsuit. Civil Beat.

Honolulu officials have taken the first major step toward using the new belongings ban to remove homeless people from public sidewalks. Civil Beat.

Sun, surf and 24,000 cubic yards of sand; the state’s plan to replenish the shoreline along Waikiki requires large equipment to pump that sand from more than 1,500 feet offshore. KITV4.

State Sen. Donna Kim, a frequent critic of programs and activities at state airports, got an unpleasant surprise when she took the new shuttle service from Honolulu International Airport to her home in the Kalihi neighborhood of Honolulu. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii's slow and uneven economic recovery appeared to rub off on Oahu's housing market last year, as median prices dipped a little on relatively flat buyer demand. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The Big Island saw about a 15 percent decline in single-family home sales in December, but hardly any change in condominium sales, according to Hawaii Information Service. Pacific Business News.

A Hawaii USDA office will be closed as part of an effort to cut costs. KHON2.

Reimbursement for services -- particularly from Medicare and Medicaid -- will continue to be a top issue for Kona Community Hospital and West Hawaii physicians, a Big Island senator said Monday. West Hawaii Today.

Ten Hawaii Island couples had applications for civil unions certified last week, according to the state Department of Health. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui home sales were mixed in December, while prices for both single-family homes and condominiums were down by double-digit amounts, according to the Realtors Association of Maui. Pacific Business News.

Makawao Veterans Cemetery may reach capacity for burials in one and a half to two years, so plans are being laid for the purchase of a 10-acre adjoining property. Maui News.

The Wailuku copy and business center, Maui Business Etc, will be the site of a lunchtime “Coffee Talk with Mazie” on Wednesday, January 11. Maui Now.

Kauai

Single-family home sales on Kauai dropped more than 50 percent in December compared to the same month in 2010, according to Hawaii Information Service. Pacific Business News.

The Kaua‘i County Council in May approved — and funded — dozens of county job positions which have yet to be filled, Council Chair Jay Furfaro said Monday. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Community College opened its classrooms Monday for the start of the spring semester. Garden Island.

Molokai

American Safari Cruises (ASC) is resuming scheduled two-day stops to Molokai later this month after company officials, local protesters and state and federal authorities reached an agreement. Molokai Dispatch.