BY SAM SLOM – The Hawaii State Legislature has completed 47 days of the 60 day session. Yesterday was the 2nd crossover. A bloated, $21 billion budget that is dependent on tax increases and features more spending, taxation and debt, sailed through the Senate 24-1. There are no genuine cuts; there are only some reductions to the Governor’s inflated executive budget. There are no bills to improve Hawaii’s business and investment climate. No change in direction or the culture of spending and taxation. Special interests and public unions dominate at the Capitol; few speak for the average family, taxpayers in general or small business. It is a very short-sighted agenda. Conference Committees have begun. Still no balanced budget.
The Kokua Japan fundraiser at the Hilton Hawaiian Village last Sunday was an awesome success. Business and indiividuals joined to help our Japanese neighbors and raised more than $1.6 million.
This Friday, April 15, the Honolulu Tea Party will be held at the State Capitol from 4-7 pm. Maui, Kona and Hilo will also host a Tea Party. Don’t agree with what local legislators are doing? Show them. Come out and support the T.E.A. (Taxed Enough Already) efforts.
Reminder: your federal taxes are due this year on Monday, April 18. Hawaii state taxes are still due on April 20.
Hooray for McDonald’s. On April 19, McDonald’s across the nation will sponsor “Hiring Day.” The firm will hire 50,000 new employees in one day; 1,000 in Hawaii. On April 28, they will open their new Aina Haina restaurant, just steps across from the original McDonald’s which opened in 1968.
Malia Zimmerman’s Hawaii Reporter presents a new investigative reporting tv series, “Hawaii Investigates” featuring Matt Levi on Hawaii News Now, KGMB-TV tomorrow, Thursday and 6:30 pm on KHNL 6:30 pm on Friday. The first program takes viewers behind Hawaii’s youth prison. SBH is a sponsor. Visit HawaiiInvestigates.com for more information.
And the classic, “Atlas Shrugged,” by Ayn Rand, will be shown at the Dole Cannery Regency Theatres starting Friday. I’ll be there. Don’t miss it!
Oahu’s only privately owned sewer system, Hawaii American Water, that serves Hawaii Kai, is proposing a whopping 21% rate increase with the PUC. Current residential rates are $58.70 per month. The new hike would increase the rate to $71.10 per month. Want to say something about it? There will be a public hearing on April 27, 6 pm at Kamiloiki Elementary School Cafeteria (7188 Hawaii Kai Drive).
On Saturday, April 23, Rep. Gene Ward announces a major Ka Iwi shore beach cleanup for Earth Day, from 9:30 am to 12 noon. Ward, his staff, Boy Scout Troop 101 and Ka Iwi volunteers will adopt the area. Call Pam Kam at 358-9145 to join in.
Two of the losing bidders for the $1.4 billion City rail project (there were 3 bidders) to provide train cars, are suing the City over what they say are bidding irregularities. Additionally, a citizens taxpayer suit will be filed shortly.
Cliff Slater of Honolulu Traffic.com will be the next SBH Sunrise Networking Breakfast Speaker at the Pineapple Room, Macy’s Ala Moana, Thursday, April 28, 7-8:30 am. Call Darlyn at 396-1724 for reservations.
Saw the movie, “Soul Surfer,” the true story about Kauai’s Betthany Hamilton, and loved it. It is truly inspirational. Go see it!
The official announcement that “Hawaii Five-0” will go into production for a second season should come in mid-May.
An IBOPE Zogby Interactive poll of likely voters, conducted April 5-7, finds only about one-third feeling better about their personal finances and the national economy. When asked if they agree or disagree that they are more confident about their household financial condition and likely to make purchases they have been putting off, 33% say they agree. This breaks out as 7% strongly agreeing and 26% somewhat agreeing.
Also, only 30% believe “the U.S. economy has bottomed out and will get better”, while 44% instead believe “the U.S. economy continues to worsen.” Another 19% say neither description was accurate.
Governor Neil Abercrombie last week announced that more than 50 Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) have been initiated as part of his New Day Works Projects to create jobs and stimulate the economy. “This is just the beginning. Our New Day Work Projects will directly attack unemployment by putting people to work right away and jump start business activity. It will provide an economic boost that will reverberate throughout the state and result in paychecks for Hawai’i families.” Governor Abercrombie said.
Governor Abercrombie has also called for $1.7 billion in CIP funds for the biennium budget for future New Day Work Projects which is moving through the Legislature.
Over the last four months, Governor Abercrombie approved the release of about $300 million for these projects. The various projects include modernizing the airports, repairing schools, improving hurricane shelters, building school libraries, and fixing the roads. The majority of these projects were identified by members of the state legislature for the benefit of their communities.
Hawaiian Telcom Services Company, Inc. (HTSC) is seeking a cable franchise – not to replace Oceanic Time Warner Cable – but rather to co-exist as a direct competitor. The State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) has scheduled two public hearings to receive community input on the application. The time and location of the hearings are as follows: Wednesday, April 13, 2011, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Kapolei Middle School, 91-5335 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei, HI 96707 and Thursday, April 14, 2011 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Washington Middle School, Cafeteria, 1633 S. King Street, Honolulu, HI 96814.
‘Olelo Community Media will be testifying that their interest with respect to the application is to ensure that both subscribers and the community producers receive PEG access services at least comparable to those currently received from Oceanic Time Warner. They will not be taking an active position of either supporting or opposing Hawaiian ‘s application.
HTSC’s application states that they are willing to provide comparable PEG funding and service quality. We do not believe that issues such as reduced PEG funding or the splitting of P, E, & G are in question, nor do we expect them to be a topic of discussion. These hearings are a great opportunity to share your ideas on how Hawaiian Telcom can best serve your community as a potential cable service provider. Anyone interested can attend the hearings, listen to the testimony, and share any thoughts that you would like to have considered by the DCCA.