Hawaii State News, midday update, 29 Jan 2019

Welcome to the Tuesday update for “Hawaii News Digest”–Hawaii State News.  Views expressed in this Hawaii News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.  Content provided by today’s issue of “Hawaii Business Magazine”.

Accessed on 29 January 2019, 1930 UTC, Post 18340.



Please click link or scroll down to read your selections.

Hotel unit numbers drop as vacation rental units increase fuels slight growth
Visitor lodging across the state grew to 80,751 units last year, a scant 0.1 percent rise from 2017. Hotels, which supply more than 54 percent of the lodging in the state, saw their unit count dip to 43,857, a more than 2 percent drop from 2017. Vacation rental units grew just over 3 percent to 13,082 units. That’s more than 16 percent of all the supply of visitor lodging in the state, making them the study’s second-largest visitor accommodation category.  Star-Advertiser.

Senate president’s son is new lobbyist for Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii has hired Dan Kouchi, the son of Senate President Ron Kouchi, as its new assistant vice president for government affairs and alliances, which some at the state Capitol fear could mean trouble this year for proposals to increase Hawaii’s minimum wage. The chamber is the state’s leading business advocacy group and has been an outspoken opponent of minimum wage increases.  Star-Advertiser.

State rolls out quicker tax filing, with better tracking for tax dodgers
“Tax Season” started Monday. It’s the first big test of the state’s new “E-Filing” system. The upgrade to the tax department’s website is intended to make it quicker to file, and should make it easier for the state to track people who don’t pay their taxes. With good reason, as the state is owed a sizable sum: around a half a billion dollars in delinquent taxes. KITV.

Rep. Takumi introduces bills on consumer protection issues
Representative Roy M. Takumi, Chair of the House Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee, introduced a package of bills. In total 6 bills relating to  various consumer protection issues, prescription drugs, single use plastic straws, and flavored tobacco products. KHON2.

Lawmaker proposing no down payment on a home for returning kamaaina
Representative Gene Ward is proposing a bill that would give graduates of Hawaii high schools with a degree from a mainland college who are first time home buyers a no money down deal. He is proposing to fund it by taxing real estate investment trusts. KHON2.

Invasive species protections suffered during shutdown
The effort to control non-native species in Hawaii was dealt a significant setback by the 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government. Inspectors at ports of entry remained on duty, but research and mitigation efforts into previously established invasive species saw major reductions in available resources. Hawaii Public Radio. 

Just a quick note:  As of 0900 HST, High surf has closed the Hilo Bayfront Highway.  Motorists should use alternate routes into Hilo town.

For the latest Hawaii State, Hawaii Island, West Hawaii, and Hawaii Sports News, please check the blog sidebars and links.  These news feeds are updated daily.  Thanks for joining us today.

Until next time,

Russ Roberts