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Proposed visitor tax


Legislative leaders believe new tourist taxes could help Hawaii deal with climate change impacts.

Views expressed in this Hawaii State News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

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Proposed tourist tax could help Hawai‘i deal with climate change impacts
Legislative leaders want to bump up taxes on the kinds of services sought by higher-spending tourists and travelers, such as gas-powered rental cars. Civil Beat.

Visitors to Hawai‘i are down 75% from last year
The sharp drop in arrivals has put the tourism sector in critical condition as it enters 2021, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers, legislative staff get vaccinated as essential workers
Some 500 state lawmakers, legislative staff and other employees who work at the state Capitol were able to get COVID-19 vaccines yesterday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawai‘i representative proposes work-from-home grant to reduce traffic
Takashi Ohno introduced a bill this week to establish a grant program for small businesses transitioning to virtual working environments. The measure aims to reduce commuting times and traffic congestion. KHON2. KITV4.

7 Hawai‘i National Guard troops test positive for COVID-19 following D.C. duty
The cases have been confirmed among the nearly 200 guardsmen from Hawai‘i who took part in a massive security force for the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Some parents say Hawai‘i is moving too slowly to bring students back to class
Roughly 74% of public school students are back on campus, but some parents say that’s not enough given CDC guidelines for opening schools. In Thursday’s cluster report, the state identified dozens of infections tied to hotels, restaurants and construction sites — but none in schools. Hawaii News Now.

Federal help would give Hawai‘i’s vaccination campaign a shot in the arm
More than 100,000 residents, including about 80% of medical workers, have been inoculated since Dec. 14. The Biden administration’s plans to purchase more doses could soon speed things up, with every willing Hawai‘i resident getting  vaccinated by the fall, health officials say. Civil Beat.

Dan Leas picks cucumbers at the Counter Culture Organic Farm in Hale‘iwa. | Photo: Aaron Yoshino
People and Places that Grow Hawai‘i’s Food
Here are those making it happen: their successes, challenges and ideas about how to make Hawai‘i more self-sufficient in food. Growing food for Hawai‘i is hot right now. In the past decade, farms of unprecedented diversity have spread across the Islands… read more.
Honolulu has the third-worst finances of any American city, according to new report
Honolulu’s balance sheet is in terrible shape, with each O‘ahu household having to pay an additional $30,000 in taxes to fully cover future obligations. That’s the assessment of a report by Truth In Accounting, a nonpartisan think tank that promotes transparency in government financial reporting. Hawai‘i Public Radio.

Prosecutors are considering plea deals in DUI cases to ease court backlog
The deal would only be for first-time offenders and would exclude people with a previous drunk-driving arrest or those with any arrest in the last five years. Hawaii News Now.

Fixing the UH stadium will cost $5M
With Aloha Stadium closed, the Rainbow Warriors are without a home. But UH officials say the Mānoa campus stadium needs extensive improvements to host football games, including 7,000 more seats, new turf and a new scoreboard. KHON2.

A bitter domestic dispute could shake up how the Navy handles abuse cases in Hawai‘i
The Family Advocacy Program is supposed to help military families experiencing abuse, but one Navy sailor’s experience shows its broad discretion in handling cases. Civil Beat.

Honolulu restaurant gets red placard for repeat mask violations
The Hawai‘i Department of Health Food Safety Branch has temporarily closed Doner Shack on Pauahi St. due to repeated instances of employees not wearing face masks while working. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Productivity meets pastrami at Alii Coffee. | Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino

Your Guide to Remote Workplaces in Hawaiʻi

Some people work remotely all day every day, while the rest of us require a temporary workplace occasionally. Here’s our guide to some of the best remote workplaces on Oahu and the Neighbor Islands… read more.

Alternatives sought for expensive Ka‘ū sewer projects and hookup costs
Property owners are fighting back to stop sewer projects in Nā‘ālehu and Pāhala aimed at getting the county out from under an EPA consent order. Current plans would levy a $40,000 hookup fee per home — sometimes higher than the value of the homes themselves. West Hawaii Today.

Just 5 Hilo leases have been extended through revitalization program
The program extends leases on state land in exchange for renovating properties, and is part of an effort to revitalize Banyan Drive and the Kanoelehua Industrial Area. Tribune-Herald.

Ka’ū Coffee Mill has been drastically impacted by the pandemic
The coffee farm sits on 86 acres of land and was a popular tourist destination with robust inter-island business. Now the visitor center is shut and coffee bean sales have dried up as local restaurants and cafes continue to struggle. KHON2.

Land nominations sought for cultural, historical preservation
The county Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission is seeking suggestions from the public regarding lands that should be preserved because of cultural or historical significance. Big Island Now.

Illustration: Getty Images
How to Support the Well-being of Your Employees in a Changed World

COVID-19 has added even more stress to their lives. Hawaii Employers Council’s Derek Kanehira offers advice on how employers can help their employees prioritize their physical and emotional more.
Maui folks are less likely to want the vaccine, according to survey
Only 50% of Maui residents said they were likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new survey of nearly 4,000 residents across the Islands. Maui News.

Southwest Airlines to add nonstop Long Beach-to-Maui flight
The flights will be added on March 11, with fares as low as $99 one way, according to a company press release. Maui Now.

Ranchers hope financial relief will help them survive extreme drought conditions
Gov. David Ige’s emergency proclamation declaring Maui County a disaster area has restored some hope for future economic relief ― but other ranchers say it’s too late for their businesses. Hawaii News Now.

Senate hears proposed Polihale pilot permit program
Before Polihale State Park reopened after nearly five months of closure by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, officials hinted there may be new rules coming to the secluded shores. Garden Island.

This UH researcher is studying an unusual invasive species — figs
Kaua‘i is host to dozens of nonnative fig species from all over the world, which mostly don’t coexist back in their native ecosystems. Civil Beat.

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