Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hawaii tax collections rise; Hirono dubbed a 'silent senator'; Legislature advances campaign spending, minimum wage, environmental bills; state to get money from Google snooping; UH spending scrutinized; no need for new Oahu landfill; Hawaii County defies impact fee law; Maui dogtags returned 70 years later, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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State tax collections are up 12 percent through the first eight months of the fiscal year, the state Department of Taxation reported Tuesday.The revenue is coming in higher than the 5.1 percent growth projected by the state Council on Revenues, which is scheduled to update its forecast on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono is part of a new bipartisan group in the Senate. Call it the Talk To My Press Secretary Caucus. Politico.

Proposals aimed at decreasing the influence of private money on state elections are making headway in the Hawaii Legislature. Associated Press.

Hawaii is one of 38 states that, along with the District of Columbia, will share in a $7 million settlement from Google Inc. over its collection of personal data from unsecured wireless networks while taking photos from its Street View vehicles. Pacific Business News.

The body that accredits the University of Hawaii says fallout from last year's Stevie Wonder concert debacle included inappropriate external interference from government officials and "revealed the fragility" of the university's autonomy. In a strongly worded four-page letter to UH President M.R.C. Greenwood on Monday, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges also raised concerns about the effectiveness of the Board of Regents, overlapping and "confusing" lines of authority at UH and a series of policy gaps. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii Procurement Under Fire for Wasting Millions of Dollars on Fraud and Corruption. Hawaii Reporter.

Lawmakers advanced a bill Monday that would provide a tax credit to public and private school teachers for out-of-pocket classroom expenses. Star-Advertiser.

The House Committee on Labor and Public Employment advanced a measure today to raise the minimum wage in Hawai’i.   The president …governor and local labor unions all support it … employers and their organizations by in large oppose it … and low-wage earners are caught in the middle. Hawaii Public Radio.

Members of the state House energy committee are moving forward several of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s environmental initiatives. Associated Press.

Rock climbers and their supporters attended a public hearing in Hale­iwa on Tuesday night, saying they support a legislative bill to give the state immunity from lawsuits involving their recreational activity. Star-Advertiser.

This year lawmakers have introduced some 270 resolutions, and as usual the range is broad: some are congratulatory, some express condolences and some — called concurrent resolutions — request action or state a position. Civil Beat.

Souki-led House majority has delivered solid agenda. Star-Advertiser.

Bank of Hawaii Corp.’s top executives, including CEO Peter Ho, have voluntarily reduced proposed salary increases that would have boosted their pay between 6 percent and 20 percent, the bank said Tuesday in a regulatory filing. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for March 13. Associated Press.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Tuesday he does not believe another landfill on the island will be needed because technology is advancing at a rate that the city will soon be able to get rid of the most objectionable, if not all, solid wastes without putting them into the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill at Kahe Point. Star-Advertiser.

When the Senate Ways and Means Committee deferred action on Senate Bill 51 late last month, effectively killing the bill for this legislative session, it marked the quiet end to yet another chapter in a classic 25-year power play by a small group of well-connected local business owners who control the Sand Island Business Association. Civil Beat.

The cost of food, gasoline and education in Honolulu rose moderately during the second half of 2012, but overall inflation remained relatively muted, according to a government report. Star-Advertiser.

The Army said it found about $495,000 to prevent the layoff of nearly 300 contract workers at Schofield Barracks through the end of March with the hope that Congress will address a militarywide funding shortfall by then, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

The city Tuesday suspended permits issued to developer Jeff Stone to build two single-family houses in Aina Haina after state officials said a historic site might exist or had existed on the site. Star-Advertiser.


Impact fees for West Hawaii schools — a state law largely ignored for almost three years — will be postponed a little longer following a heated, but ultimately fruitless, discussion Tuesday by the County Council Planning Committee. West Hawaii Today.

A parade of county department heads made its way through council chambers Tuesday, as the County Council Finance Committee heard explanations for hundreds of thousands of dollars in contract changes. West Hawaii Today.

Government officials have been eyeing Ka‘u for a spaceport as far back as the 1960s. But the latest proposal — revealed by Rep. Cindy Evans, D-North Kona, Kohala, at a community meeting last week — may be a hard sell, particularly in a county where the top executive wrote the legal brief that brought down the last spaceport plan. West Hawaii Today.


A state Department of Agriculture informational meeting on plans for the release of a moth to combat fireweed, a plant toxic to most livestock, will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani. Maui News.

The first double-decker bus of the Maui Bus fleet was dedicated this morning, with the vehicle set to start servicing the Kihei Islander route by the end of March or beginning of April, said county officials. Maui Now.

Dog tags lost in Hawaii returned to family 70 years later. Hawaii News Now.

A male humpback whale with small-gauge line wrapped around its tail was totally freed on Monday, following the efforts of multiple agencies and organizations, according to a news release from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Maui News.


Kaua‘i’s drinking water is safe and free of the chemical herbicide atrazine, according to David Craddick, manager of the Kaua‘i County Department of Water. Garden Island.

A trial date was set in the theft case against former state representative Roland Sagum. Garden Island.

More than a handful of Kilauea residents on Tuesday let the Kaua‘i Planning Commission know they don’t want an 80-foot cell phone tower next door, even if the federal government has already established that health hazards cannot be argued against the tower. Garden Island.

The county’s Building Division is scheduled to launch a Web-based permitting system by the end of April. Garden Island.

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