By Star-Bulletin Staff

Thursday, March 4, 1999

Tax tab for Hawaii’s
poor is 2nd largest

By Pete Pichaske, Phillips News Service

WASHINGTON -- Poor working families in Hawaii pay more in state income taxes than families in almost any other state, according to a study released here today.

The study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank here, found that for a two-parent family of four, the threshold income for paying state taxes in Hawaii was $6,100, less than half the poverty level and lower than all but three states.

But relief is in sight: When the tax cuts passed last year by the state Legislature take effect next year, the tax burden on poor families, while still sure to be higher than most states, will drop significantly.

"It will help," said Nicholas Johnson, a policy analyst with the center and a co-author of the study. If the new tax rates were in effect this year, he said, Hawaii's threshold level for imposing taxes would rise to about $11,000 -- the 10th lowest in the nation instead of the fourth lowest.

But whatever the future holds, the picture is grim for poor working families filling out their tax forms this year.

A two-parent family of four in Hawaii earning the poverty-line income of $16,655 will pay $519 a year in income taxes, more than in any state except Kentucky.

For families of three with poverty-line incomes, Hawaii's tax burden is the highest in the country: $421.

In 31 states such families would either pay no taxes or receive a payment from the state.

State ordered to start complying
with federal disabilities act

By Harold Morse, Star-Bulletin

The state Health Department must demonstrate by May 6 satisfactory progress toward providing court-recommended services to a hearing-impaired employee, a federal court order says.

The order issued Monday says the state must complete within three months an adequate "self-evaluation and transition plan" for all public health services under Health Department jurisdiction, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The court recommends the state be required to implement the transition plan within two years of completing it. The department must demonstrate progress toward this goal in the May court appearance.

U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren issued findings and recommendations in the case Feb. 2.

The order was in the form of an injunction affirming Kurren's ruling in favor of Douglas Bartlett, a Health Department youth counselor. Bartlett claimed in his suit that, although the department knew he had a severe hearing impairment from the time of his 1991 hiring, his requests for accommodations for his disability had gone unheeded since 1994.

He wanted a note-taker for meetings he was required to attend, a device or modem for e-mail generation, a telephone with volume control and quiet office space. After two additional requests and a demand letter, he filed suit in December 1997, asking that the Americans with Disabilities Act be implemented.

The state moved to meet some of his requests, but Kurren considered state actions inadequate.

Cord Blood Bank award

The Alana Dung Research Foundation has presented an additional $45,000 grant to Kapiolani Health Foundation for the Hawaii Cord Blood Bank project.

Adelia Dung presented the money at a recent luncheon to John Walker, foundation president and chief executive officer. The Hawaii Cord Blood Bank was created last July to encourage parents to donate usually discarded umbilical cords of newborn infants.

Tickets to be honored for humorist's UH talk

Tickets purchased for a talk by humorist Loretta LaRoche during the University of Hawaii's Humor Day March 10 will be honored during a future performance, says Rebecca Goodman, with the College of Social Sciences.

LaRoche had to cancel her appearances during the UH "Laughing Matters" events because of a family medical emergency, but asked to reschedule her visit in May, Goodman said.

Refunds also are available.

For more information, call 956-8224.

Donors replace stolen computers, and more

Thanks to donors reacting to crooks who stole five computers in December, Makaha Elementary School has received enough computers to put one in each of its 44 classrooms.

More than $7,000 and 45 computers were donated to the Leeward school since burglars broke in during Christmas vacation.

"We're really thankful for the support," said Vice Principal Alison Ibara-Kawabe. "The kids are doing great. Everything's back to normal."

Five computers, two televisions and three videocassette recorders were stolen.

Donations included $5,000 from Campbell Estate, 15 computers from Pearl Harbor and five computers from the U.S. Post Office. Dozens of other people and businesses also made donations.

Feds cite papaya farm for safety violations

HILO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cited Susan Andres Farm, a Keaau papaya farm, for violating rules designed to protect workers from pesticides, the agency announced.

The farm could be fined a total of $11,000 for the 10 violations identified, but the actual fine will be determined after the agency holds discussions with the farm to determine more facts, spokeswoman Lois Grunwald said.

The alleged violations include allowing workers into areas treated with pesticides, failing to provide pesticide training and failing to post safety information.

The action is based on an investigation conducted by the state Agriculture Department, which had given the farm warnings for violations under state law, the agency said.

Missile frigate opens to visitors Saturday

The guided-missile frigate USS Reuben James will be open to the public Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at Pearl Harbor.

Visitors will enter through Nimitz gate and proceed to Bravo Pier 23. Children must be at least 8 years old.

Forums' focus: Medical opportunities in Japan

Health Care Forums '99 will kick off at a breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. tomorrow at the Plaza Club.

The forums are planned as a yearlong series of briefings and seminars on international market opportunities for Hawaii's medical and health care industry.

The cost, including breakfast, is $12. For information, contact the chamber at 949-5531 or the DBEDT's Services Trade Branch at 587-2750.

Junior stamp contest has deadline extended

A March 15 deadline to enter Hawaii's Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest has been extended to April 1.

For entry forms, call the Fish and Wildlife Service office at 541-2749.

See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
See our [Search] [Info] section for subscription information.

Police, Fire


By Star-Bulletin staff


Wayman Kaua indicted for October standoff

Wayman Kaua, who barricaded himself in Pacific Palisades for 22 hours last fall, was indicted yesterday on 13 counts.

The counts included attempted murder, kidnapping, first-degree terroristic threatening, reckless endangering, and owning and possessing a prohibited firearm. Bail was set at $1 million, said Jim Fulton, spokesman for the city prosecutor.

Kaua, 30, held his wife and another woman hostage in a Waimano Home Road house in October because he feared being arrested for a positive drug test while on parole.

Several thousand people were kept out of the community overnight because police blocked the entry road. The standoff ended when Honolulu police SWAT members shot but didn't kill Kaua when he came out of the home with a gun pointed at his wife's neck. His wife wasn't harmed.

Suspected pimp faces five years if convicted

A federal grand jury has indicted Rodney D. King, 33, with transporting a juvenile for prostitution to a Waikiki hotel.

A previously filed criminal complaint said three juveniles, aged 15 to 17, admitted they were employed by King as prostitutes in connection with the "Cherry Patch" escort service.

King faces up to five years imprisonment if convicted. The Honolulu Police Department, FBI and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division took part in the investigation.

See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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