DOE’s repair backlog tripled from last year

In a budget briefing at the Legislature at about this time last year, state Department of Education officials reported that their backlog of repair and maintenance jobs was $293 million, and they were patting themselves on the back because it was a significant drop from the $392 million reported in 2010.

Zero-based budgeting can help state

Last week, we spent some time on “variance reports,” which is how our state government agencies report differences in position count and spending from one year to the next. The agencies are also supposed to report on performance measures that they pick themselves, but sometimes still disregard this requirement.

Carbon tax: Don’t fiddle while Paris burns

On Nov. 28, our state Climate Commission, consisting of 22 county and state government officials, issued a press release affirming that it supports a carbon tax “to achieve Hawaii’s ambitious and necessary emissions reduction goals.”

The county strikes back, part four

We continue with our series about a timeshare association suing Maui County seeking to invalidate its “time share” property classification, with the county then striking back.

The county strikes back

In this state, if you have a beef with the tax collector you can’t just go suing in any old court. We have a special court called the Tax Appeal Court that hears disputes about state taxes and county taxes.

An open-records case: Walden versus OHA’s LLCs

About half a year ago, we wrote about some limited liability companies formed by our Office of Hawaiian Affairs. These companies received cash and property, including 1,600-plus acres of land in Waimea Valley, from OHA.

Oahu’s rail project sits on a precarious perch

Recently, there has been fierce debate over Bill 42 before the Honolulu City Council. Here’s the background: In 2007, the city passed Ordinance 07-001, which says that the Honolulu rail project would be funded only with proceeds of the general excise tax surcharge and federal money.