Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Advocates, unions seek huge GET tax hike, governor, unions still sparring over furloughs, Hawaii County Band pleads for its life, state population growth slows as households spend more, other Hawaii news

Advocates for the poor and members of Hawaii's largest public worker unions rallied at the state Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to hike the general excise tax 1 percent.

Advocates for the poor and labor union workers rallied yesterday for an increase in Hawaii's version of the sales tax as anti-tax demonstrators urged the government to back off.

Despite two new proposals aimed at ending Furlough Fridays for public school students, the issue does not seem any closer to being settled.

Hours after education officials and Gov. Linda Lingle announced competing proposals to end teacher furloughs in Hawai'i's public schools yesterday, it was already clear that no breakthrough was at hand.

Two competing plans have been released, to end Furlough Fridays in Hawaii schools.

The Board of Education and teachers union Tuesday reached tentative agreement to end public school teacher furloughs.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said today that Kmart Corporation will pay $120,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination suit involving a 70-year-old pharmacist at a Honolulu store.

Kaua'i County and UPW officials yesterday signed a supplemental agreement on an automated refuse collection service for up to 3,200 homes in Puhi, Lihu'e and portions of Hanama'ulu starting July 1.

Kaua‘i County and United Public Workers signed an agreement Tuesday that clears the path for a “milestone” program to replace traditional three-worker trash collection teams with mechanized, side-loading trucks operated by a single employee.

The opening day of the Maui County fiscal year 2011 budget review Monday was a day of pie charts, spreadsheets and phrases like "tightening belts" and "sharing the pain."

Members of the Hawaii County Band gave perhaps the most important performance of their lives Monday, yet there was nary a musical instrument in sight.

The Hawaii County Band accounts for a scant one-tenth of 1 percent of the county's $375.3 million budget. But Monday night, it consumed 96.7 percent of a three-hour County Council hearing on the budget.

Hawai'i's population grew an estimated 0.7 percent per year from July 1, 2000, to July 1, 2009, a slight decrease from the previous decade, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released yesterday.

The 1960s show tune "Hey Big Spender" may as well be dedicated to Hawaii households because we are third in the United States, according to a new report by

A West Hawaii Realtor says the real estate market has reached bottom, but a long-time appraiser thinks the market, while showing improvement, has yet to stabilize.

As an 18-month trial period allowing leashed dogs on a section of the multi-use path draws to a close, canine-lovers in favor of permitting their furry friends on the entirety of Ke Ala Hele Makalae are pushing for county action.

Self-described pragmatists, who favor looking forward instead of back, tend to be skeptical of those ever-vocal members of our community who set out to save the crumbling, peeling, faded remnants of what once vibrantly surrounded us.

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