Honolulu-based ocean shipper Matson Inc. announced Wednesday it is reducing its fuel surcharge for its Hawaii service by 3.5 percentage points because of a change in bunker fuel prices.
The surcharge rate will be reduced to 36.5 percent from 40 percent as of Sunday, Matson (NYSE: MATX) officials said in a statement.
“We are pleased to make this second consecutive downward adjustment to our fuel surcharge, which for most customers represents a reduction in shipping costs ranging from $80 to $140 per container,” Dave Hoppes, senior vice president for ocean services, said. “We have been encouraged by the recent moderation in bunker fuel prices and remain focused on diligently exploring ways in which we can maximize fuel efficiency for our fleet.”
The company’s last adjustment to its fuel surcharge was a 3.5 percent reduction in March, which also applied to Matson’s service to Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.
The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a Flood Advisory for the Island of MOLOKAI in effect until 10:45 a.m. This advisory may be extended beyond 10:45 a.m. if heavy rain persists.
EFFECTS: At 7:45 am, radar showed heavy rain near Molokai airport. The area of heavy rain was moving east at 10 mph.
Other locations in the advisory include but are not limited to Kualapuu, Kepuhi, Kalaupapa, Hoolehua and Halawa Valley.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES: STAY AWAY FROM STREAMS, DRAINAGE DITCHES AND LOW LYING AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING. RAINFALL AND RUNOFF WILL ALSO CAUSE HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS DUE TO PONDING, REDUCED VISIBILITY AND POOR BRAKING ACTION. DO NOT CROSS FAST FLOWING OR RISING WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE OR ON FOOT. TURN AROUND…DON’T DROWN.
INFORMATION: Maui County Civil Defense will continue to monitor the situation. Please listen to your local radio and TV stations or NOAA Weather Radio for any updates.
NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts can be reached by calling 1-866-944-5025. The NOAA Weather internet services can be found at www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl.
Pre-recorded advisories and notifications are available 24-hours a day on the Maui County Automated Information System (AIS) by calling 986-1200.
Honolulu has ceded its status as the worst traffic city in the United States for 2012 to Los Angeles, according to the latest study by traffic information provider Inrix, which found that traffic congestion was on the rise across the nation.
Drivers wasted an average of 42 hours — or a week of vacation — in the top 10 worst traffic cities, Inrix said.
Drivers in Los Angeles spent an average of 59 hours stuck in traffic in 2012, ranking the city No. 1 among the 10 worst cities for traffic, according to Inrix, which attributed the increase to Los Angeles County adding 90,000 jobs over the past year.
Honolulu was No. 2. with drivers spending an average of 50 hours sitting in traffic. That’s an improvement from 2011, when Honolulu topped the list with drivers wasting an average of 58 hours stick in traffic.
San Francisco, where drivers spent an average of 49 hours in traffic in 2012, was No. 3.
Nationally, drivers wasted an average of 62 hours on the worst-congested roads in the U.S., which are all in the New York, Los Angeles and Chicago areas.
(Report Provided by Pacific Business News)
Honolulu, HI – Fatafehi Melekiola of Lahaina, Maui took home the keys to a brand new 2013 Kia Soul on April 19 as part of the Aloha Island Mart Aloha Kia Sweepstakes. Fatafehi was among five sweepstakes finalists who got the chance to pick the winning key that would start the black 5-door wagon.
“I did absolutely nothing but pray and hope for this win,” said an excited Fatafehi, whose birthday was on April 18, the day before the key drawing. “Thank you to Aloha Petroleum and Aloha Kia for my birthday present.”
No one went home empty handed. The four other finalists each received a $200 Aloha Petroleum gift card.
“The sweepstakes was exciting for us and for Fatafehi,” said Larry Adams, Aloha Petroleum Director of Sales and Marketing, who presided over the festivities at Aloha Island Mart Kahala. “This is the first time we’ve given away a car and it feels great. We love doing things that make our customers happy.“
Honolulu – Lead Senate and House negotiators on the State Budget bill announced they closed negotiations three days ahead of an internal deadline. Discussions between the Senate and House on finalizing the budget started well ahead of schedule this year, marking a paradigm shift in the approach taken to complete the work of the legislative session. On a local note, $130 million dollars was included in the budget for the building of Kihei High School as well as the purchase of Lipoa Point in West Maui to keep that land undeveloped.
“The House and Senate committed to working together to finish the budget ahead of schedule,” said Senator David Ige, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “By completing work on the budget early, we have more time to consider the state financial plan and make thoughtful decisions on what bills should move forward.”
Finishing work on the budget early also creates a better environment for Senate and House negotiators working on other measures. Rational decisions can now be made without the immense pressure of looming deadlines. The conference committee meetings for the State Budget began nearly a week earlier than normal to avoid the last minute rush to get conference bills out for final vote. This is a marked change from the last minute rush of typical legislative sessions.
One of the items that the two sides were able to come to agreement upon was a balanced reduction of vacancies throughout state departments in order to cut costs and ensure accurate financial reporting. After considering input from the departments, the two Chairs announced that roughly 200 positions—down from the proposed 1,000—will be reduced to save nearly $8 million.
“Chair Ige and I believe that in order to efficiently and effectively use state resources, the departments need to instill a sense of accountability and responsibility in their management of vacant positions. We have made it very clear that the Legislature wants to have all departments accurately use money we give them for its intended purpose and not for other things,” said Representative Sylvia Luke, chair of the House Finance Committee. “I would like to really thank them for understanding what we are trying to accomplish and for providing information to ensure that the most effective decisions are made in staffing.”
On the opening day of the conference committee for the state budget, the chairs agreed to appropriate $100 million for fiscal year (FY) 2014 and $117.4 million for FY 2015 to begin payments on the unfunded liabilities.
Currently, the unfunded liabilities for the employer-union health benefits trust fund is $13.6 billion.
Over the upcoming fiscal biennium, the Legislature’s final draft of the executive budget is more than $250 million under the Governor’s budget proposal.
Today, appropriations for Capital Improvement Programs (CIP) and grants for non-profits (Grant-In-Aid) were announced. The committee funded $30 million in projects for non-profit organizations on every island in the state.
“In conferencing with the House members, the intent of this biennium’s CIP negotiations has been to identify what needs to be funded by the state, while staying within the executive bond issuance plan as much as possible. For General Obligation bonds, this was just over $1.32 billion for the biennium to cover projects related to agriculture, education, social services, and technology,” explained Senator Michelle Kidani, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means who oversees Capital Improvements Projects for the Senate.
“This proposed budget keeps the CIP budget within the state’s debt ceiling and Executive Bond issuance plan,” said Representative Luke.”
On funding public school facilities, Luke said, “We have agreed to fund the Department of Education over $400 million for repairs, upgrades and issues that have plagued our educational facilities for many years. You can’t have a 21st century school with 20th century electrical wiring!”
House Bill 200, relating to the State Budget, will now go before the full House and Senate for a final vote.
Washington, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono today took to the Senate floor to urge her colleagues to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act, legislation that would help level the playing field for Hawaii small businesses. Hirono, a cosponsor of the legislation, argued the bill would help local merchants compete with online retailers operating on the mainland.
In her speech, Hirono discussed how this legislation would benefit local businesses like Kona Stories, a bookstore in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
“Small shops like these are places that can teach visitors about the unique characteristics of our communities. They also help bring local people closer together around shared experiences and values. Unfortunately, these small businesses are the ones that are hurt most by the advantage that online merchants currently have because they don’t collect Hawaii’s sales and use taxes.”
Watch her speech on the Senate floor here: http://youtu.be/inkbtqlGeNQ
The full text of her address reads below:
Mr. President, I rise today to speak in support of S. 743, the Marketplace Fairness Act.
This legislation will put businesses in Hawaii on an even playing field with their out-of-state competitors. It does this by giving the States the authority to require out-of-state merchants to collect the same taxes that local merchants have to collect when they sell goods to a customer in Hawaii.
This is only fair.
I want to be clear about what this bill does and what it does not do. This bill does not impose a new federal sales tax. This bill does not require States to do anything. In fact, if this bill becomes law, nothing would change unless a State passes its own legislation.
What this bill does do is give States a choice. It lets each State choose whether or not to level the playing field for its local businesses.
In addition, this legislation provides a framework that ensures that States can exercise this authority in a way that ensures fairness for businesses of all sizes. For example, it requires any State that chooses to exercise this new authority to streamline its sales and use taxes, and to provide free software to calculate these taxes to out-of-state sellers.
And this legislation protects small online businesses by exempting any business with less than $1 million of annual sales.
The growth of the Internet has been one of the most significant drivers of innovation in history. More and more Americans rely on the Internet to run their small businesses, access educational and health resources, keep in touch with loved ones, and for entertainment. Expanding fast, affordable, and secure Internet access is an essential building block for a strong 21st century economy.
However, we must also be careful to ensure that while we’re promoting the economic potential of the Internet, we’re also being fair to local businesses and entrepreneurs.
These are the businesses that populate the Main Streets of towns across the country—hardware stores, clothing stores, gift shops, and many, many others. These businesses create jobs, pay taxes, and provide needed goods and services in our communities.
In fact, in Hawaii retail businesses employ nearly 25 percent of the workforce—about 128,000 people. In 2012 these businesses generated $30 billion in sales in Hawaii, as well as $1.2 billion in tax revenue.
Many of these entrepreneurs don’t just want to contribute economically—they want to contribute to the culture and character of their communities.
For example, my office received a call from the owner of Kona Stories, a small bookstore in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Kona Stories opened in 2006 and sells over 10,000 titles of all kinds. But Kona Stories doesn’t just sell books—it also hosts book clubs, supports local authors and artists, and also helps promote other local businesses. The programs and meetings that Kona Stories hosts focus on promoting the local culture and character of the community.
Small shops like these are places that can teach visitors about the unique characteristics of our communities. They also help bring local people closer together around shared experiences and values.
Unfortunately, these small businesses are the ones that are hurt most by the advantage that online merchants currently have because they don’t collect Hawaii’s sales and use taxes. This makes online products appear cheaper because their prices don’t include state taxes—even though these taxes are technically still owed. That’s not a real competition—it’s an artificial discount that’s unfair to local “brick-and-mortar” businesses.
And it puts businesses in Hawaii like Kona Stories at a disadvantage. As a small business, they have a hard enough time competing with the online giants that can offer lower prices—even if they were collecting state taxes.
In addition to allowing states to level the playing field for their local businesses, S.743 would also provide a boost for State and local governments by letting them collect taxes that are already owed. According to a 2012 Hawaii Tax Review Commission report, fixing this situation would mean nearly $160 million in additional revenue for the State of Hawaii in 2013.
I want to be clear: that money does not come from new taxes. It comes from taxes that are already owed but are just not paid. That’s money that should be going to keeping teachers in the classroom, fire fighters and cops on the beat, and fixing our roads and bridges so we all benefit.
Overall, the Marketplace Fairness Act is a good bill.
It balances the need to preserve a vibrant and innovative online marketplace with the need to ensure fairness for local businesses. It also ensures that everyone is meeting their responsibilities with regard to paying State and local taxes.
That is why this legislation has such a broad range of support from business, government, and labor organizations big and small from all across the country.
In fact, my home state of Hawaii has been working to try and address this issue on the state level for years. Passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act will finally give Hawaii the ability to address this disparity and put our businesses on an even playing field. That will be especially important to the 2,000 local businesses that make up the Retail Merchants of Hawaii.
Mr. President, I ask that a list of Hawaii and National supporters be included in the Record.
I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this important legislation.
I yield the floor.
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