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Higher state taxes may be coming

Hawaii Governor David Ige says “revenue enhancements” are needed to offset a projected $1.4B budget deficit.

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Higher state taxes may be coming
Gov. David Ige’s administration is considering unspecified tax increases and “revenue enhancements” to help plug a projected $1.4 billion shortfall, members of the state Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means were told Monday. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

LA travel restrictions threaten to hurt Hawai‘i tourism
As hospitalization surges, Los Angeles County is implementing new travel restrictions, including a 10-day quarantine for returning residents. As Hawai‘i’s biggest domestic visitor market, the new restrictions could impact the recovering economy. KHON2.

Stimulus will help Hawaiian Air, other businesses get their workers back
Some involuntarily laid-off or furloughed workers will return to their jobs, thanks to the latest federal relief package. The package provides the Payroll Support Program to the hard-hit airlines, among other needed aid, says the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Economic forecast: Visitor numbers could hit 6M this year
State economists say that travel to the state could nearly return to 2019 levels by the end of this year, but a complete recovery will take more than three years. Tribune-Herald.

Late deliveries, holiday season are blamed for slow vaccine rollout
Health officials say two factors are causing the delay. First, the state expected 81,000 doses in December, but only got about 60,000. And second, immunization clinics were often closed during the holiday season. Lt. Gov. Josh Green says he expects vaccination efforts to ramp up soon. Hawaii News Now. KITV4. KHON2.

State sent out hundreds of ineffective masks in pandemic chaos
The masks with valves were removed from the inventory of the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency but somehow got back in. Civil Beat.

Hawai‘i Restaurant Card boosted economy, but $5M was never spent
The $500 restaurant debit cards helped people who lost their jobs and the struggling restaurant industry, pumping an estimated $151 million into the economy, say state officials. But nearly $5 million remained on cards that were never activated or had unused balances. KHON2.

Will the Legislature reverse Ige’s suspension of the public records law?
The governor’s order has been in effect since March, but it’s unclear if lawmakers will do anything about it next session despite their opposition to the measure. Civil Beat.

Our Most Popular Stories of 2020
The last print issue of the year is when we check which of our stories resonated the most with readers over the past 12 months on our digital platforms – like a greatest hits collection… read more.
Legislators aim to fix flaw in New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District bill
Lawmakers says a problem in earlier legislation has slowed the progress of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District. A new measure correcting the flaw will be introduced this month. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Judge dismisses obstruction case against Kealoha conspiracy victim
Ransen Taito became entangled in the conspiracy involving former deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha when he was just 11 years old. A federal judge has granted a motion to drop all charges against him. Hawaii News Now.

Commissioning event eyed for USS Daniel Inouye
The long-delayed guided-missile destroyer USS Daniel Inouye is tentatively scheduled to be commissioned at Pearl Harbor in the fall. A big pier-side ceremony is in the works, assuming COVID-19 is under control. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Matson to welcome new vessel to Honolulu
A bigger and faster Matsonia cargo ship is due to arrive in Honolulu Harbor this morning on its maiden commercial voyage. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Risk Transfer in the Construction Business

Got subcontractors? If you use subcontractors, those risks go up exponentially. You could be exposed to liabilities for damages or injuries caused by those subcontractors. Here’s what you need to know about contractual risk transfer… read more.

Activists occupy part of Wailoa River State Park
A group claiming the authority of the Hawaiian Kingdom has again set up camp in the Hilo park and planted taro and fruit trees on the lawn near the statue of Kamehameha the Great. Tribune-Herald.

$77M in bonds will cover old debts, finance new projects
The county sold the general obligation bonds for new capital projects and to retire debt, according to a report from Finance Director Deanna Sako to the County Council. West Hawaii Today.

New management in place at Hilo veterans home
Hawaii Health Systems’ East Hawaii Region has taken over the management of Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home from Avalon Health Care. In the fall, 27 residents died in a devastating COVID-19 outbreak at the facility. Tribune-Herald.

Lawsuit: DOE failed to help Hilo student who was harassed and bullied
The federal lawsuit is directed against the Hawai‘i Department of Education and Board of Education for failing to intervene and stop the nearly yearlong bullying. Civil Beat.

Most Popular Baby Names In Hawai‘i

All of Hawai‘i’s top 5 were among the top 10 nationally except Aria and Ezekial, the federal Social Security Administration reports. Rounding out the top five in Hawai‘i are, for girls: Ava, Emma, Amelia and Aria; and for more.
Alice Lee to lead City Council, calls public health and budget top priorities
The new Maui County Council chairwoman says public health and safety, balancing the budget and creating a county Department of Agriculture are some of the top issues the council will tackle this year. Maui News.

Maui County on the verge of returning to “safer at home” order, mayor says
County officials say they are seeing a significant spike in COVID-19 cases, with nearly 80 reported over the weekend. Among the cases is a growing cluster at the Harbor Lights condominium complex in Kahului, which has risen to 68 infections. Hawaii News Now. Maui Now.

Maui parents blindsided after distance learning is extended an extra month
Students in the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui complex were preparing to return to some form of in-person learning on Tuesday. But a letter sent to families on Monday said students will have to learn from home until at least Feb. 1. Hawaii News Now. Maui Now. Maui News.

Mayor says limited infections mean many small businesses can stay open
Kaua‘i is currently in the least-restrictive Tier Four of its recovery plan, with a seven-day average of one case per day and a positivity rate of just 1%. KITV4.

Hotels see uptick in reservations ahead of changes to travel rules
Gary Moore, manager of Timbers Kaua‘i Ocean Club & Residences, said bookings rose 15% since Gov. David Ige approved new “resort bubble” regulations last week. KITV4. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i students go back to school
Thousands of public school students returned to the classrooms Tuesday following the winter break. Garden Island.

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Until next time,

Russ Roberts

Retired News director of Pacific Radio Group Radio Stations on Hawaii-the Big Island. I have more than 40 years of broadcast experience, including positons at KTUH-FM (UH-Manoa), KPOI-FM (Honolulu). KHLO-AM (Hilo), KKBG-FM (KBIG-FM)(Hilo/Kona), KAPA-FM (Hilo-Kona). Native-FM (Hilo-Kona), and ESPN Hawaii (Hilo-Kona). Former University of Hawaii-Hilo librarian. Retired Air Force Officer. Amatuer (Ham) Radio operator since 1977 (currently holds the Amateur Extra Class License from the FCC-KH6JRM).... Can read, write, and speak Russian. Retired on 30 September 2011, but still maintains a Hawaii Island News Blog.

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