State tax revenues increase by 17.2%
State tax revenues for the first four months of this fiscal year were $1.42 billion, a 17.2 percent increase over the same four-month period of the previous fiscal year, state Department of Taxation officials said yesterday.
The increase is well above the 6 percent gain forecast for the entire fiscal year by the state Council on Revenues. The council predicts the state's annual tax income so the governor can prepare the state budget and the Legislature can plan on allocation of funds.
Last fiscal year, which ended June 30, the council underestimated what the growth in the state's tax take would be, initially forecasting it would only rise by 5.3 percent when it actually rose 16 percent.
The cumulative total for the current fiscal year rose with the addition of $322 million in October, the department said.
The month's revenues were led by $192.1 million in general excise and use taxes, which generally account for the largest share of all General Fund collections.
Lingle withholds funds from library
A state legislator wants Gov. Linda Lingle to reconsider her position to withhold the $4 million appropriated by the Legislature to repair the privately run Makiki Library.
Lingle has said she won't release the money because the library is not a state facility.
Rep. Brian Schatz, D-Makiki, said yesterday that Lingle should at least release enough state money to obtain a matching $1.7 million city grant.
"We've gone to the governor with a compromise and tried to meet her halfway on this issue. There is a lot of talk about giving back the state surplus to people. But there's not a lot of action on the governor's part to actually do it," Schatz said.
A spokesman for Lingle said the new offer had not changed the governor's position.
Sharks to infest Big Island waters
State officials warn that there might be sharks in Onomea Bay and surrounding areas on the Big Island's East Shore.
About 4,000 pounds of fish from the grounded boat Seven Stars might be entering the water and attracting large predators, according to a Department of Land and Natural Resources news release yesterday.
"The presence of dead fish would continue to attract sharks to the area for the next several days," Peter Young, DLNR chairman.
The public is urged to stay out of the water at Onomea Bay and surrounding areas until DLNR determines sharks are no longer in the area.
Alleged baby-killer continues treatment
A Big Island teenager accused of killing her infant son is to remain in a Honolulu mental health facility pending further court hearings, a Family Court judge ruled yesterday.
Judge Aley Auna Jr. ordered the 16-year-old girl, who has not been publicly identified and did not appear in court, to remain under the care of the Department of Health at the Queen's Medical Center, where she has been for a month.
Auna said the girl is to be held for at least a "short while" longer for medication management and stabilization.
The girl was arrested and charged with second-degree murder following the Oct. 12 death of her 4-month-old son at a home in Kalaoa.
Police, responding to a call of an accidental stabbing, found the infant nearly decapitated in a bedroom of the home.
Police, Fire, Courts
By Star-Bulletin staff
Police seek suspect in alleged Big Isle attack
Big Island police are looking for an armed 25-year-old man suspected of breaking into a Hilo home 4:05 a.m. yesterday and assaulting a woman.
Police said the suspect, who has no permanent address, allegedly broke into a Hilo home on Kapiolani Street and struck a woman, whom he knew, while she slept. The woman fled and called police. She told police the suspect had a handgun and threatened to shoot her.
The suspect reportedly fled in a newer model white four-door sedan. The vehicle's partial license plate number is HTG 6--. He is described as 5-foot-8, about 170 pounds with a slim build, a tan complexion, brown hair and brown eyes.
Police are investigating the man for suspicion of burglary, abuse of household member, temporary restraining order violation and terroristic threatening cases. Anyone with information on the case can call police at 935-3311 or CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.
Suspect allegedly set fire to own apartment
Police said they expect to charge a 21-year-old man today with first-degree criminal property damage for allegedly setting fire to his own apartment.
The man returned to the scene about 1 a.m. yesterday and was arrested without incident, police said.
When firefighters arrived shortly after 6:30 a.m. Monday at the 607 N. King St. apartment, no one was at home. Firefighters had to break into the apartment to extinguish the fire, which police say was intentionally set. Police said the suspect lived at the apartment with his girlfriend.
Damages were estimated at less than $1,000, fire Capt. Kenison Tejada said.
Student allegedly tries to rob good-kid tokens
A 13-year-old boy was arrested after he allegedly robbed a younger student and shoved a teacher's aide at Central Middle School yesterday.
Police said the suspect approached an 11-year-old boy at 10 a.m., demanded money and allegedly tried to take school-issued good behavior tokens by punching the victim. The teacher's aide, a 26-year-old male, was pushed by the suspect when he attempted to intervene, police said.
The boy was arrested for investigation of second-degree robbery and harassment.