The state Council on Revenues will meet next week to consider what many expect will be a downward revision of state tax projections.
The group scheduled a special meeting after being asked to do so by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who wants the group to consider what the March 10 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, along with worries about radiation drifting to Hawaii from damaged nuclear plants, will do to the state’s economy.
The group had not been expected to meet again until May 26. It last met on March 10, hours before the earthquake. At that time it sliced tax revenue projections to only 0.5 percent growth this year.
Many people expect the group of economists and business executives to cut the forecast further when they meet again. Tax projections created by the council are used by the state legislature in creating a budget for the state.
A downgrade of the tax forecast would add to state government budget woes. In shaving the tax growth forecast from 3.0 percent to 0.5 percent, the state’s deficit’s ballooned by $266 million to more than $950 million.
Japanese tourists accounted for 17 percent of visitor arrivals last year. Since the earthquake passenger arrival counts from Japan have fallen dramatically. In the past week the arrivals figures have fallen by a double digit percentage in six out of seven days.
Hawaii Tax Coffers May Benefit From Rising Gasoline Prices
The National Taxpayers Foundation says Hawaii is one of nine states that could see higher tax revenue from gasoline as pump prices continue to rise.
As gasoline prices rise, so does the amount generated from gasoline if the amount purchased remains the same. In Hawaii, the tax charged on gasoline includes the state’s General Excise tax, which is 4.5 percent on Oahu and 4.0 percent elsewhere in the state.
According to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge, the average price of a gallon of regular in Hawaii was $4.145, or 66.4 cents more than a year ago.
Honolulu Moves up Three Spots with International Travelers
Hotels.com said Honolulu was the seventh-most popular U.S. city for international travelers in 2010.
That’s up three spots from its ranking in 2009. New York was the top pick for overseas residents traveling to the U.S. Las Vegas was No.2 in the ranking.
One of the world’s premiere auctions of vintage surfboards and memorabilia is set for July 22 and 23 at the Blaisdell Center.
The Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction occurs every other year. Among the offerings this year will include a 60-year old foam sandwich board shaped by Bob Simmons that has an estimated value of $40,000 and a Matt Kivlin balsa board that is thought to be worth $39,000.
A portion of all auction sales will go to the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation Scholarship Fund, and to the Surfing Heritage Foundation.
Stalker of Ivanka Trump Claims to live in Hawaii Volcano
Justin Massler, a Reno, Nevada resident who stalked Ivanka Trump, is listing a Hawaii address as he faces charges to harassing the former model and now businesswoman.
Massler gave his address as a volcano in the Aloha State as he appeared in a New York court on Wednesday. News reports said Massler had been facing misdemeanor charges but now may be tried on felony charges after breaking a court order to say away from Trump.