(AP). Governor Linda Lingle wants to take about $100 million annually from Hawaii’s four counties to help balance the state’s budget. Lingle says snaring the counties’ hotel tax money would help the state deal with a projected $1.2 billion deficit over the next 18 months. Lingle says she also plans to delay some income and corporate tax refunds until after July 1st.
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi vows to fight the governor’s plan to use the transit accommodations tax to help balance the state’s $1.2 billion deficit. In a prepared statement, Mayor Kenoi says the TAT is not gift or grant in aid, but rather is the County’s fair share of the revenue from the taxes collected by our hotels to pay for the impact of tourism on the island. Kenoi says local residents should not have to bear an unfair burden to balance the state budget.
Hawaii Island’s ban on the use of cellphones while driving takes effect on January 1st and sales of wireless headsets are increasing before the January 1st deadline. Verizon Wireless store manager Kaniela Pau tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that nearly three quarters of his customers are asking for hands-free devices before the January 1st deadline. The law dows make exception for Wireless headsets and for those who use two-way radios for work or are FCC licensed Amateur Radio operators.
Fireworks permits will be issued beginning Saturday, December 26th. Each permit costs $25 and will entitle the holder to buy 5,000 individual firecrakcers. Permits are available at Pinky’s in Papaikou. The Parker Ranch Shopping Center Food Court, TNT Fireworks in the Prince Kuhio Plaza, Pacific Fireworks in Hilo and Kailua-Kona, and at the Thunder Fireworks Store on Henry Street in Kailua-Kona. For more information, call 327-3546.
The Department of Water Supply will turn off water along the Akoni Pule Highway, between Puehuehu Place and Kynnersly Road, in North Kohala, today, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The water interruption is necessary to make a waterline connection for the Kohala Public Library. For details, call William Yamamoto at 887-3030.
Hawaii Island State Representative Mark Nakashima and Hawaii Island State Senator Dwight Takamine will hold Community and Senior Club meetings prior to the convening of the 2010 Legislature on January 20th, 2010. The first meeting is set for January 4th, 5 p.m. at the Kohala Senior Center, and at 6:30 p.m. at the Waimea Elementary School Cafeteria. Other meetings will follow from January 5th through January 7th.
(AP). The Hawaii-based longline fishing fleet is being barred from catching bigeye tuna in the western and central Pacific for the last three days of the year. International agreements and federal regulations limit the annual U.S. longline catch of bigeye tuna to 3,763 metric tons. The NOAA Fisheries Service says that limit is expected to be reached by December 29th.
The state Department of Transportation advises Big Island motorists of single lane closures on Queen Kaahumanu Highway from Kealakehe Parkway to Lako Street now through Wednesday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., for electrical work and pavement marking installations. One lane of traffic in each direction will be open at all times.