Insight into Federal Debt Ceiling Talks with Obama, Inouye; Elimination of Tax Exemptions Will Increase Hawaii Prices; Costs Detailed; Reapportionment Commission Meeting Schedule Released

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Insight into Federal Debt Ceiling Talks with Obama, Inouye

Hawaii’s Senior Senator Daniel Inouye, who is one of six members of Congress on a bi-partisan task force organized by Vice President Joe Biden to negotiate reduce the nation’s deficit, has been advocating along with Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) for increased spending and more stimulus funds.


He isn’t alone. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal today, President Barack Obama has been doing the same.

WSJ’s Paul A. Gigo writes: “One of President Obama’s advantages in the debt-limit talks has been his ability to sound like a born-again spending cutter in public while the details of what he’s willing to accept remain secret. The reality is that the White House offer on spending reforms was much less than publicly advertised, and by the end it even included $136 billion in new spending proposals over 10 years. A source in the talks laid out for us on Monday the increases that were part of the final White House offer before the talks led by Vice President Joe Biden broke down:

“-$15 billion in new general spending that would come from the $30 billion expected to be raised from spectrum auctions;

“-$8 billion to bail out the Post Office;

“-$33 billion to extend Pell grants for college, as the money for the expanded grants under the stimulus runs out;

“-$43 billion to extend unemployment benefits for another 99 weeks;

“-$10 billion more for research at the National Institutes of Health;

“-And $27 billion over two years for the Medicare “doc fix,” to avoid a reduction in payments to doctors that is scheduled to take effect under current law.

“None of this is surprising as the spending items fit with longstanding administration priorities. But they do contradict the public pose that Mr. Obama is taking as he tries to break his reputation as a spendthrift and dodge responsibility if the U.S. credit rating is downgraded. Mr. Obama is so insistent on tax increases because he wants to keep financing the spending he’s increased so much in his first two and a half years.”

Meanwhile, Republicans on the commission maintain they won’t authorize an increase in the debt ceiling unless spending is cut substantially.

They have until Aug. 2 to reach an agreement. That is the date that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner predicts the U.S. debt ceiling will be reached and the nation will be in jeopardy of defaulting on its payments.

Elimination of Tax Exemptions Will Increase Hawaii Prices; Costs Detailed

Sen. Sam Slom

Sen. Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai- Kahala, who is on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, released a list of tax exemptions that were eliminated this July after the legislature and governor changed the law to raise $400 million in tax hikes.

GET exemptions suspended:

• Gross income received by contractors
• Reimbursements received by federal cost plus contractors for costs of purchased materials, plant, and equipment
• Gross revenue of homes service providers providing mobile telcom to other home service providers
• Gross income from real property lessees from sublessees
• Gross income of nonprofit organizations from certain conventions, conferences, trade show exhibits, or display spaces
• Amounts received by sugarcane producers and revenues from:
• the loading, transportation, and unloading of agricultural commodities shipped interisland
• sale of liquor, cigarettes, tobacco products, and agricultural meat, or fish products to persons or common carriers engaged in interstate or foreign commerce
• the loading or unloading of cargo
• tugboat and towage services
• the transportation of pilots or government official
• labor organizations for real property leases
• rent for aircraft or aircraft engines used for interstate air transportation
• high technology research and development grants
• the servicing and maintenance of aircraft or construction of aircraft service and maintenance facilities
• petroleum product refiners from other refiners for further refining of petroleum products; and gross proceeds from:
• the building or maintenance of air pollution control facilities
•  shipbuilding and ship repairs.
• qualified businesses in enterprise zones.
• certain contractors to build in enterprise zones for the qualified businesses.

Other exemptions “temporarily” suspended:

• Leasing or renting of aircraft for commercial transportation of passengers and goods involved in interstate air transportation
• Use of oceangoing vehicles for passenger or passenger and goods transportation within the state.
• The use of material, parts, or tools imported for the use of aircraft service and maintenance or the construction of aircraft service facilities.

See the full editorial on the history of the bill in his oped, New Tax Law Sending Shockwaves Through Hawaii Business Community

2011 Reapportionment Commission Hearing Schedule Announced

The 9-member Reapportionment Commission, which is charged with redrawing the Congressional district lines based on population figures released by the U.S. Census, has released its meeting schedule. The meetings will be aired live on Olelo Television.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 – State Capitol Room 329 at 2:00 PM

Live on NATV Channel 53 (Oahu) and live stream on ‘Olelo’s website at

Thursday, August 4, 2011 – State Capitol Room 329 at 2:00 PM

Live on VIEWS Channel 54 (Oahu) and live stream on ‘Olelo’s website at

Monday, August 8, 2011 – State Capitol Room 329 at 2:00 PM

Live on VIEWS Channel 54 (Oahu) and live stream on ‘Olelo’s website at

The programs will also be available in their entirety on ‘Olelonet at after the program is submitted for rebroadcast.


View the On Demand library of previous Reapportionment Commission meetings at