Friday, March 10, 2017

Absent owners pay one-third of property taxes, state to benefit from military spending, House kills pesticide disclosure bill, EPA probes pesticide effects on Native Hawaiians, Maui mayor jeered at state of county speech, North Shore surfer group protests wind turbines, former judge Burns dies, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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A new report released by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism estimates that close to one third of the state’s real property tax was paid by out-of-state owners in 2016. Pacific Business News.

U.S. military spending is on the rise, and Hawaii is likely to be a financial beneficiary, especially when it comes to expanded sea power. A $578 billion defense bill, up $5 billion overall from last year, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday on a bipartisan vote of 371-48. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Budget and Finance is reviewing the flow of federal funding into Hawaii to see what funds might be at risk from budget cuts or other actions by President Trump’s administration, Gov. David Ige said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers are looking for ways to generate more state revenue by taxing foreign real estate investors. Hawaii Public Radio.

Leadership in the state House of Representatives killed a bill that would increase regulation over pesticide use in an 11th-hour move that’s attracting strong criticism from environmental activists who backed the measure. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii House of Representatives on Thursday quashed a bill that would have required large-scale agricultural operations to publicly disclose when and where they spray pesticides and insecticides. Civil Beat.

A bill that would require chemical companies to give notice before spraying restricted use pesticides around sensitive areas died on the Hawaii House floor on Thursday. Garden Island.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is launching an investigation into whether state agencies discriminated against Native Hawaiians on West Kauai and Molokai when licensing pesticide use on nearby farms. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture and its affiliated Agribusiness Development Corp. are being investigated for alleged violations of the Civil Rights Act. Garden Island.

Hawaii taxpayers are facing a legal bill of as much as $150,000 — and maybe more — to underwrite a campaign to topple President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would establish a working group to explore the use and best practices of blockchain technology in Hawaii has crossed over to the Senate. Blockchain technology is used to track digital money transactions by connecting “blocks,” or virtual bank statements and linking them chronologically on a “chain.” Pacific Business News.

The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation said today that it has pulled back a $50,500 grant that had been awarded to help the Board of Education hire a search firm to recruit the next schools superintendent. Star-Advertiser.

The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation has decided to pull its $50,500 donation for Hawaii’s search for a school superintendent out of concerns that the process is rigged in favor of Darrel Galera. Civil Beat.

Payment of a major grant to the Board of Education has been suspended over concerns a board member who quit to apply for the superintendent position could have an unfair advantage. KHON2.

Retired Judge James S. Burns, who served more than 30 years on the bench from state district court per diem judge to chief judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals, died of throat cancer this morning at the Queen’s Medical Center. He was 79. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines' unexpected landing due to 'unruly passenger' was an expensive decision. This unscheduled landing may have cost the Honolulu-based airline tens of thousands of dollars due to costs incurred by dumping fuel, refueling, providing additional meals for delayed passengers as well as ground handling fees. Pacific Business News.

Commercial real estate sales in Hawaii dipped for a second straight year in 2016 but stayed above $4 billion thanks to the sale of roughly 2,500 hotel rooms by the largest local hotel company. Star-Advertiser.

Right now tax refunds are being delivered within four weeks. As things get busier, your state refund could take as long as 16 weeks. KHON2

Oahu

A new peer review penned by transit industry experts from across North America raises renewed concerns over the Honolulu rail agency’s ability to gauge the true cost and schedule for Oahu’s cash-strapped transit project. Star-Advertiser.

High turnover and distractions over old contract disputes are hampering Honolulu’s over-budget and behind-schedule rail project, according to a panel of independent transit experts commissioned to review the project’s management. Civil Beat.

A federal appeals court Thursday ruled in favor of the decision by Honolulu police to seize and hold 77 arcade machines as gambling devices in 2012. Star-Advertiser.

A battle is starting to swell between the developer of an on-shore wind energy farm that is planned for the area and a community group called “Surfers 4 Solar.” They are waging a battle over the effects the giant wind turbines may be having on the waves at one of the most-famous surf spots on the planet. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

East Hawaii legislators and business owners are urging the Hilo community to continue its support of a series of economic revitalization bills. Tribune-Herald.

The preservation of lands in Hakalau was once again on the Hawaii County Council agenda. Big Island Video News.

A bill that could boost safety at a popular swimming spot in Puna is moving through the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

Another lawsuit filed in a federal court in California is accusing Craft Brew Alliance Inc., which owns Kona Brewing Co., of misleading shoppers into believing they’re buying beer made in Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

Alaska Airlines announced Thursday 13 new nonstop routes from the Bay Area, including its first between San Francisco and Kona, which will run daily and is set to begin on Dec. 14. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

In his annual ‘State of the County’ address on Thursday, Mayor Alan Arakawa called Maui’s housing crisis his “most immediate priority,” vowing to find new ways to make it affordable to live in the county — and to find new ways to make the islands sustainable for future generations. Hawaii News Now.

Protesters seek to drown out Maui mayor's State of the County address. Hawaii News Now.

A group of demonstrators held signs outside the venue for the Mayor’s State of the County Address on Thursday, calling for respect of the Hawaiian Culture, accountability, and an apology for comments made about rocks some consider to be sacred at ʻĪao Valley. Maui Now.

Mayor Alan Arakawa presented an array of ambitious plans for the county, including buying more shoreline property to prevent development, creating an affordable housing fund and shutting down the 87-year-old Waiehu Municipal Golf Course during his State of the County address on Thursday. Maui News.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa announced the proposed closure of the Waiehu Municipal Golf Course due to continued operating losses. Maui Now.

ATC Mākena Holdings, LLC will be completing several projects that will significantly expand coastal access and recreational opportunities for the public within the Mākena Resort area. Maui Now.

Kauai

An agreement between the County of Kauai and a land developer for the use of land to provide access and parking was deferred Wednesday during the Kauai County Council meeting. Garden Island.

A 55-year-old pavilion at Kapaa Beach Park was taken down last month. Garden Island.

The public is invited to attend the mayor’s State of the County address. Garden Island.