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Individual Development Accounts, Version 2.0

Individual Development Accounts, a program that seems to be gaining traction at our Legislature, is a way to help lower-income people build self-sufficiency. Under conventional welfare rules, applicants for public assistance are awarded assistance based on need, which means that if the applicants have assets that could be sold or used to support the applicant, benefits are either reduced or...

Squirreling Away Money At The Dept. of Transportation

Well, it looks like the Hawaii State Watch Doggie has woken up from his nap. A:  Hey!  Keeping watch is hard work! Q:  Undoubtedly.  So what are you reading there?  It looks like an Auditor’s report — “Review of Special Funds, Revolving Funds, Trust Funds, and Trust Accounts of the Department of Transportation.” A:  Oh, yes. It’s an outrage. Q:  What’s the problem? A:  Well,...

Creativity Abounds at our Legislature, Pt. 2

This week, we are continuing our coverage of creative tax-related bills at our legislature.  The Hawaii State Tax Watch Doggie is taking a nap at the moment so I’ll continue without him. Let’s start with the revenue raisers. SB 1373 raises the GET rate.  At least that one is straightforward and easy to understand.  SB 1474 raises the GET rate a...

Creativity Abounds At Our Legislature

This year, our legislature once again is poised to consider revenue raising – namely, taxes in new and creative ways.  For a different perspective on the issue, we’re asking the Hawaii State Tax Watch Doggie, who has been going through the hundreds of introduced bills. Q:        So do you see any new and unusual revenue raisers there? A:        Woof!  Arf!  Yap! Q:       ...

Wai’anae community says enough is enough. Puu o Hulu Park still without a bathroom.

Kym Pine
In 2018, in a hearing before the Committee on Parks, Customer, and Community Services, the Mayor’s Administration claimed that there were unforeseen delays, which prevented completion of the park bathroom until at least March 2019. As of today, almost six years later, the Mayor’s Administration has still not opened the bathroom at the park and the Wai'anae community are asking...

Ask Not for Whom the H-1 Tolls…

Recently, we have heard the term “congestion pricing” bandied about as a way of improving traffic congestion here, and of raising more money. What is it?  Congestion pricing is a way of charging motorists for driving in designated areas during designated times.  For example, in London, drivers pay a daily fee of about $16 to drive to the heart of...

SOTU: Pelosi and Schumer’s Arrogant Politics on Display

BY FRANK SALVATO It is a misnomer that President Trump has “shutdown”, at least partially, the US government. That Nancy Pelosi, the Progressive Speaker of the House, and Chuck Schumer, the pandering Democrat Minority Leader in the US Senate, attempt to hoodwink the American people into believing this nonsense is testimony to their disregard for the intelligence of the American...

DOE’s Repair Backlog Is How Much Again?

In a budget briefing at the legislature at about this time last year, Department of Education officials reported that their backlog of repair and maintenance jobs was $293 million, and they were patting themselves on the back because it was a significant drop from the $392 million reported in 2010. This year, the backlog is $868 million – nearly triple...

Ocasio-Cortez: Just As Fake As Socialism Itself

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
BY FRANK SALVATO Just like the hollow promise given by Democrats when they passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006, newly elected and former-waitress US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (P-NY), is waffling on whether or not she will refuse her salary during the so-called government shutdown. Ocasio-Cortez makes $174,000 annually as a US Representative. The freshman Democrats shot her mouth off before...

Zero-Based Budgeting

Last week, we spent some time on “variance reports,” which is how our state government agencies report differences in position count and spending from one year to the next.  The agencies are also supposed to report on performance measures that they pick themselves, but sometimes still disregard this requirement. Today, we examine “zero-based budgeting,” an idea that has been around...