Rich States, Poor States: Hawaii Ranked Poor; Inouye Wants More Stimulus; HGEA Unit 9 Goes to Arbitration; Hirono-Troops Should Come Home; Lost’ Star Joins ‘Hawaii Five-0’

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Rich States, Poor States: Hawaii Ranked Poor

The American Legislative Exchange Council has ranked Hawaii at 46 in its new report, Rich States, Poor States. That ranking has lowered from 41 in 2008 and 2009 and 38 in 2010.


About Hawaii, the report said:

*”Alaska may have the worst climate in the country and Hawaii arguably has the best, but Alaska had slightly faster population growth than Hawaii over the last decade.”

*”In Hawaii, which along with Oregon now shares the highest state income tax in America (11 percent), advocates of the big tax hike on the rich enacted in Honolulu, usually explain the rationale for it in terms of class warfare. The tax hike targeted toward these rich is hardly going to help rebalance the worst real estate crisis in decades in Hawaii.”

*”In some high benefit states, such as Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New York, the entire package of welfare payments can pay people the equivalent of a $10 per hour job (and let us not for- get: welfare benefits are not taxed, but wages and salaries are). Because these benefits shrink as in- come levels from work climb, welfare can impose very high marginal tax rates (60 percent or more) on low-income Americans. And those disincentives to work have a deleterious effect. We found a high, statistically significant, negative relationship between the level of benefits in a state and the percentage reduction in caseloads. In sum, high welfare benefits magnify the tax wedge between effort and reward. As such, out- put is expected to fall as a consequence of making benefits from not working more generous. Thus, an increase in unemployment benefits is expected to lead to a rise in unemployment.”

*Despite hefty tax increases, the Aloha State still reports hefty budget deficits. “With deficits that may surpass $100 billion in the states for fiscal year 2012, we expect big pushes for tax increases in Connecticut, Minnesota, and yet again Maryland, California, and Hawaii. It is a good bet that liberal legislatures will continue to try to raise rates on businesses and high income residents,” the report said.

*Hawaii’s state unfunded Pension Liabilities for public employees are considerable. Pew reports that number at $5,168,108,000 where as aEI says it is much higher at $18,533,398,000. A study by novy-Marx and Rauh estimates the unfunded pension liabilities at $16,100,000,000.

Hawaii Reporter will have an exclusive podcast with Jonathan Williams of ALEC and KHVH’s Rick Hamada posted later today.

See the full report at ALEC.ORG and more details are in the chart below:

Inouye Wants More Stimulus

A report in The Hill by Erik Wasson said Hawaii’s Senior Senator Daniel Inouye is advocating to put stimulus measures such as a payroll tax deduction into the deficit-reduction package.

Inouye 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. Democrats on the commission, Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) want to increase spending and stimulus funds while Republicans 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. One member of the group, deemed “the gang of 6,” told The Hill that it is unlikely that $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years probably won’t be agreed to by Aug. 2.

HGEA Unit 9 Goes to Arbitration

The Hawaii Government Employees Association, which represents state employees, settled its contract negotiations with the state earlier this year with all but one of its units – public nurses. Wednesday night, the HGEA told its members that it will proceed to arbitration:

“On June 20, the Unit 9 negotiating team met to discuss the status of negotiations with the state. Because Governor Abercrombie has not moved from his position of a 5 percent wage cut and six hours of supplemental time off per month, and because they wanted to address concerns of fellow Unit 9 members, the team decided to proceed to arbitration.”

An email to members also said: “HGEA notified the Hawaii Labor Relations Board that an impasse in negotiations exists, which begins the timetable to arbitration. A hearing will be convened upon the selection and availability of an arbitration panel, possibly in September or October. HGEA is open to continue negotiations with the employer until the end of the arbitration hearing.”

Congresswoman Hirono: Troops Should Come Home

Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono, D-HI, said Wednesday that she “strongly supports the president’s decision to bring 10,000 of our brave men and women in uniform home from Afghanistan and 33,000 by next summer.” President Barack Obama announced this plan Wednesday in a speech to the nation.

“The President has successfully dealt with Osama bin Laden, and this is the right time to focus on responsibly winding down our mission inAfghanistan,” Hirono said in a press statement.

Lost’ Star Joins ‘Hawaii Five-0’

Terry O'Quinn as John Locke

Terry O’Quinn, who played John Locke on the ABC series Lost, will have a new and recurring role on Hawaii Five-0. The 59-year-old actor who lives in Hawaii will portray a Navy Seal Lt. Commander who trained Steve McGarrett (played by Alex O’Loughlin).

TV Line reports O’Quinn most recently was in a pilot titled Hallelujah that was not picked up by ABC. He has also been featured in Alias and The West Wing.

O’Quinn was nominated for an Emmy last year for his role on Lost.

Both Lost and Hawaii Five-o were filmed in Hawaii, primarily on the island of Oahu.