Monday, April 29, 2024

House-Senate negotiators agree on biggest tax cut yet, COVID hazard pay cost jumps to $449M, second round of health-care debt forgiveness begins, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii residents could see biggest tax cut yet. Hawaii taxpayers could be seeing phased state income tax cuts that over eight years amount to the biggest reduction in state history. A measure approved by House and Senate negotiators Friday,  House Bill 2404, would double the standard deduction for the 2024 tax year and then keep raising it every two years through 2030. Star-Advertiser.

State to pay $449M for government worker pandemic hazard pay. The state will have to pay $449 million to compensate government employees for coming to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost is about $150 million over previous estimates by the Department of Budget and Finance. Hawaii Public Radio.

New round of debt forgiveness begins for Hawaii healthcare professionals.  Gov. Josh Green, in partnership with the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, the Healthcare Association of Hawaii and the state Department of Health, developed the Healthcare Education Loan Repayment Program (HELP) to pay off up to $50,000 for each of two years as long as health care providers commit to accepting public insurance for at least 30% of their patient care claims. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers reduce financial grants.
Hawaii’s Legislature approved $30 million in grants this year to around 150 applicants amid a challenging budgetary picture that included the need to appropriate roughly $1 billion for Maui wildfire response and recovery work. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi is one step closer to having a state fire marshal. Lawmakers in conference committee, one of the final legislative hurdles, have passed Senate Bill 2085 to establish a dedicated fire marshal who will direct statewide efforts to prevent and respond to fires. Hawaiʻi is the only state without one. Hawaii Public Radio.

Governor approves broadband equity access and development state match plan. Governor Josh Green approved the use of $33 million in state funds for the state match plan for the Broadband Equity Access and Development (BEAD) grant program on Friday, April 27. Eight programs will be funded with this grant which will have a statewide impact on ensuring Hawai‘i’s goal toward universal broadband access.  Big Island Now.

Frequent Withdrawals Of Nominees Hinder Green’s Efforts To Fill Boards And Commissions. More than 10% of the governor’s nominees have been pulled back this year. Civil Beat.

Governor Backs Effort To Stem The Tide Of Invasive Species In Hawaii. The biosecurity measure is one of two key pieces of legislation that will strengthen the efforts of the Department of Agriculture. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Tourism Agency campaign targets U.S. market. Hawaii’s hotel booking pace is in the red through December, but legislative funding has allowed the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority to support a new multimillion dollar marketing campaign aimed at U.S. visitors. Star-Advertiser.

Flat Golden Week foretells a sluggish Japan tourism recovery in Hawaii. Golden Week, the traditional peak Japanese travel season, is better this year than last, but it isn’t the gold mine that it once was because Hawaii is losing ground to competing destinations during this holiday period and beyond. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii child abuse cases decrease, according to 2023 statistics. Last year, 1,800 total cases were reported — a decrease of over 300 reported the year before. Hawaii News Now.


Trial starts today in federal lawsuits over military jet fuel leak. 17 relatives of U.S. military members suing the United States over the leak from the World War II-era storage tanks. The 17 are considered “bellwether” plaintiffs representing more than 7,500 other military family members, civilians and service members in three federal lawsuits.  Associated Press.

Officers posted outside Mayor’s office after alleged heated discussion with Ocean Safety chief.  Honolulu police officers are posted outside the Mayor’s office at Honolulu Hale after an alleged heated discussion between the Mayor and the Division Chief of Ocean Safety. John Titchen was put on unpaid administrative leave this week. Hawaii News Now.

Ocean Safety Task Force members critical of process. Some who served on Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s Ocean Safety Task Force to help form the new public safety department say they were fed up with the outcome. Star-Advertiser.

Financial woes plague state’s free dental clinic. After serving Hawaii’s low-income population for over 20 years, the state’s only free dental clinic might be forced to close its doors this summer. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes Road, Cabins Closed Due To Sharp Increase In Earthquakes. Hilina Pali Road is closed on the Upper East Rift Zone, where 250 earthquakes have occurred in the past 24 hours. Big Island Video News. KHON2.

Union Says Big Island Wastewater Plants Are Dangerously Understaffed. It's not uncommon for a lone worker to be responsible for operating sewage treatment facilities that have been plagued with problems. Civil Beat.

Draft EIS: PTA lease extension could have adverse impact. A draft environmental impact statement released earlier this month about the Army’s proposal to renew its lease on up to 22,750 acres of state land at Pohakuloa Training Area indicated that granting the extension could have an adverse impact on Hawaiian cultural practices and environmental justice. Tribune-Herald.

A solution for insurance crisis? Some Puna residents pursue member-owned insurance cooperative. After most of the recently proposed legislative solutions have failed, Puna residents are hoping they can solve their district’s impending housing insurance crisis. Tribune-Herald.

Light at the end of the tunnel for Hakalau park. The long-closed Hakalau Beach Park will reopen more than a decade after being shut to the public according to a state Department of Transportation document. Tribune-Herald.


Missing Maui County documents complicate Lahaina fire probe. Missing Maui Emergency Management Agency documents make it “difficult to make a complete and accurate accounting” of activities inside the Emergency Operations Center on Aug. 8 when fires killed 101 people, burned 6,721 acres and left 8,000 people homeless, according to the state attorney general.  Star-Advertiser.

37 Fires Along One Maui Road This Year Alone Have Residents Of Nearby Town On Edge. In the aftermath of the Lahaina tragedy, officials are stepping up efforts to protect Paia and other areas considered at high risk.  Civil Beat.

Emergency slope repairs will close remote Alelele Point roadway 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays starting May 1.  A portion of remote county roadway at Alelele Point near Mile Marker 39 will be closed to all traffic, with the exception of emergency vehicles, between 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday starting May 1, 2024, due to an emergency slope repair project on the makai side of the road, according to a County of Maui Department of Public Works announcement today. The road closure is expected to last five months, the department said. Maui Now.

Rebuilding Lahaina: Homeowners In The Seaside Town May Get A Reprieve From Coastal Zone Rules. Shoreline setbacks or a retreat from the water so far aren't getting much traction under state and county planning efforts. Civil Beat.


Storm damage assessment process continues on Kaua‘i. Local, state and federal officials will embark on a process aimed at validating damage data from heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding earlier this month on the island. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

No comments:

Post a Comment