Hawaii’s Congresswomen Weigh in on Payroll Tax Cut Debate

The Senate passed a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, federal unemployment benefits and Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors on Saturday, and went home for the holidays.

But the House Republican majority does not support the plan. The House GOP wants a one-year extension on the payroll tax cut, and passed a measure on Tuesday to set up a conference committee with the Senate.

Without a compromise, payroll taxes will increase in the new year from 4.2%, to 6.2%.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in a press conference today a deal can be struck “quickly.”

But Hawaii’s U.S. Representatives Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono joined other House Democrats yesterday in calling for an “up-or-down vote” on the Senate’s plan.

“Americans deserve a vote on this bill. They deserve to see clearly who is standing up for their interests and who is not.” Hanabusa said.

Hirono said. “The House Majority’s gift to 700,000 workers in Hawaii is to raise their taxes by not extending the payroll tax cut and cut unemployment for 3,000 people in the islands in January.”

Obama Family Christmas in Limbo

With the House GOP holding out for a one-year extension on the payroll tax, President Barack Obama’s Christmas vacation in Hawaii is on hold.

According to The Hill, The White House won’t say if the President will spend Christmas in Washington DC. while his family is in Hawaii or if he will make a brief appearance and return before the end of the year to approve the final legislation.

The First Family, their friends and the U.S. Secret Service already arrived here over the weekend. They plan to be here for 17 days.

Should the President decide to travel to Hawaii, the cost to taxpayers for his travel and security will be more than $4 million.

Rolling the Dice on Gaming Proposal for Hawaii?

www.carroll.edu

Will Hawaii lawmakers roll the dice this session?

Hawaii is one of only two states that prohibit any kind of legalized gambling, the other being Utah.

But that may change. Lowell Kalapa, president of the Tax Foundation says legislators will consider a number of legalized gambling proposals this session because they want more revenue and less cuts to government.

If such proposals gain momentum, Kalapa said there will be a major debate because the public is “deeply divided on the issue”, and it is an election year.

He said lawmakers also have to consider the adoption of any form of gaming may expedite other forms of gaming not approved by the legislature on Hawaiian Homes Lands or other Hawaiian sovereignty lands.

Kalapa’s column in Hawaii Reporter already is gaining attention in the gambling industry and was noted in the CasinoCityTimes.

Wall Street Journal John Fund Heading to Hawaii for Smart Business Hawaii Conference

Wall Street Journal Editorial Writer John Fund will be the keynote speaker at the Smart Business Hawaii annual business conference on Wednesday, January 11, at the Ala Moana Hotel.

There will be a number of Hawaii leaders speaking as well including Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald and Mark Dunkerly of Hawaiian Airlines.

The conference is sponsored by McDonalds of Hawaii.

Sign up today by calling SBH at 396-1724.

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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards. Hawaii Reporter has a weekly television news show, News Behind the News, which airs on Mondays at 1:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.