Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hawaii House readies $11 billion state budget, Honolulu budget transparent, Kauai fights arsenic, Maui basketball coach starts wedding business, news from all the islands

Taro protesters at state Capitol (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
The illegal pai ai issue has recently attracted attention from a wide variety of groups, including those in the state house and senate. Honolulu Weekly.

The state is moving forward with $2 million in infrastructure upgrades at Honolulu International Airport's international arrivals building. Associated Press.

The state House Finance Committee completed its draft of the budget yesterday, which would shrink Gov. Neil Abercrombie's recommendations but still increase spending over this fiscal year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii representatives are cutting funding from almost all of Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie's initiatives in an early draft of the state's budget. Associated Press.

The House Finance Committee on Wednesday passed a state budget that restores the days that workers were on furlough, but calls for $250 million in cuts to Gov. Neil Abercrombie's plan. KITV4.

A nearly $11 billion a year state budget passed the House Finance Committee Wednesday. KHON2.

Scores of government officials gathered in and around a House hearing room Wednesday morning, waiting to learn how the Finance Committee planned to either reduce or increase the budgets for their departments or agencies. 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.

Hawaii's Per-Capita Spending Ranks in Top 5. Civil Beat.

Dozens of legislators attended a free dinner last night organized by producers of genetically modified food but very few lawmakers cleared their attendance ahead of time with the state Ethics Commission, commission executive director Les Kondo said. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii's public schools are waiting for millions of dollars in repairs, but Department of Education officials said major progress has been made in reducing the backlog.Hawaii News Now.

The legislature is trying to tackle homelessness this session. Hawaii Public Radio.

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald has made public the names of candidates the Judicial Selection Commission has proposed for three district judgeships on Oahu and a fourth on Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu unveiled its new fiscal transparency web site today. KHON2.

A week after presenting his first budget as Honolulu mayor, Peter Carlisle on Tuesday night became the city's first mayor to upload line-by-line spending details to a website aimed at improving government transparency. Civil Beat.

Honolulu homeowners, and particularly North Shore residents, will be keeping a close eye on Honolulu City Councilmembers who will be considering property tax relief and the North Shore Sustainable Communities Plan next week. Hawaii Independent.

Kauai residents said they're worried about the chemical contamination in soil found recently in a residential neighborhood that was once an industrial area near a former sugar mill. Star-Advertiser.

The state Health Department has discovered arsenic contamination on historic plantation land in Kilauea. Garden Island.

Dramatic changes to the county's 20-year-old building code are being sent back to a County Council committee, following public hearings that raised more questions than answers. West Hawaii Today.

Two Percent for Public Land is back. Mayor Billy Kenoi's new budget, he announced, would mark "the resumption of transfers" to the Open Spaces Fund at the rate of two percent of property tax receipts after the County Council, at Kenoi's request, temporarily cut payments to the fund in 2009. Big Island Weekly.

The nascent biofuels industry in Hawaii is struggling to produce commercially viable fuel for the Islands’ electricity needs, and a recent ruling by the state Public Utilities Commission stands to increase the challenges. Pacific Business News

A scaled-down Maui Lani Center got its phase two project district approval from the Maui Planning Commission on Tuesday, just barely. Maui News.

Former professional basketball coach Don Nelson signed an agreement with neighbors of his proposed wedding business on North Kihei Road on Tuesday morning, and in a brief hearing Tuesday afternoon got his special management area permit. Maui News.

For many visitors, the view from a helicopter circling Kilauea's newest eruption leaves them reaching for words. Tribune-Herald.

More electric vehicles may soon be spotted on Oahu roads, as another shipment of cars has arrived at Tony Nissan. KITV4.

Herb Kawainui Kane once said his beliefs ran counter to contemporary theory -- the one that teaches artists to paint from the inside out. Hawaii News Now.

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